We worship God, source and sustainer of creation, whom Jesus called Father, whose sons and daughters we are.
Matthew 6: 9-13
‘Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
Jesus called God Father. When we take it on its own and treat ‘Father’ as God’s name then it is dangerous, as though it claims some special dignity for people who are male and parents. But it does not come alone, this calling of God using the most intimate form of ‘Father’. It isn’t about privileging masculinity, but about holding intimacy alongside awesomeness. It’s about the wonder that the creator of all things, the source and ground of all being, loves the life that is created in us, in each one of us, in all the amazing ways that a human parent might love their child.
In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, his students, to pray, he calls God Father (Pa?), but also says that God is ‘in heaven’ and that God is holy, with a Kingdom to come and a will that is strong and good and deserves to be done. And this God, who is also our father, can rescue us even from the evil one, since this God is all good. The great God of heaven and earth, the God whose will is done, the God who can save the world, this God – is also our father.
Our own statement of faith picks up this great duet as well. We worship God who is the source and the sustainer of all that is, and discover, through Jesus, that this same God is a parent to us and loves us as sons and daughters. ‘Parent’ is a rather bleak, abstract kind of word, and it cannot do justice to this miracle that the God of all creation loves us so intimately and personally. Yesterday we longed to worship the awesome and sovereign God. And today we find that same God loving us tenderly.
Thank you, for revealing, through Jesus your son, that we, like him, are your beloved children, with whom you are well pleased, whatever. Give us, as any father might, or any mother too, such an experience of your love that we will at last believe that we are so loved, as we live our lives being part of your awesome creation. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Susan Durber is minister of Taunton URC and Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches