In our current culture, there is sometimes a call to not use the fatherhood of God as a metaphor because not everyone is a father, nor has a father that is a worthy example. But even in Jesus’ time, and even further back into the Hebrew Scriptures, there were lousy or absent fathers. Isaac and Jacob showed favoritism among their sons. Moses didn’t bring his sons under the covenant of circumcision. High priests Aaron, Eli, and Samuel all failed to train their sons to honor God. King David was often an absent father. Throughout scripture God’s people are called to care for the orphan because many had no father. But that is not God Our Father.
Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, a father of the fatherless. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity. Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Psalm 68:4-6, Matthew 6:26; 7:11)
*Pause for silent meditation on God our Father*
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
To Our Father we pray, Amen.
photo credit: Asleep in Papa’s arms via photopin (license)
This story comes from Tim Hansel (1987). Holy Sweat. Word Books Publisher, pp. 46-47.
One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and them yelled “Hey Dad!” I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. Continue reading Call to Worship: Trust
Psychiatrist Karl Menninger once said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day.1 His thoughts remind us that freedom, in our lives and minds, comes through forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14 both say that through Jesus Christ we have “redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” It is not that we have redemption and forgiveness, but that redemption, being freed from slavery, is the forgiveness of our sins. Through God’s forgiveness, we are free to live, and to worship.
1. Today in the Word, March 1989, p. 8
photo credit: Will Foster via photopin cc
©2012 Paul Tillman
I had always heard lessons about how parents should pray for their children Four years ago I did not have any child, but we were trying, unsuccessfully. At first we were trying to time the pregnancy for a certain month, but after a while it became a “just go for it” situation. Continue reading Call to Worship: Believing in Prayer
There is a Flash game called Smite Thee where you play as Zeus. When an “unbeliever” walks over to steal a brick from your temple, you hit the space bar to smite them with a lightening bolt. I suppose that is one way to handle conflict. I smite thee. Or I can be passive-aggressive and I ignore thee.
Continue reading Call to Worship: Smite Thee
When the United States elects a president for a first term, I find the inauguration fascinating. People line the streets and cheer, some because they simply honor the office and this might be their one chance to see the president of the United States of America, while others add to it their hope. The candidate they voted for has won, and this is a celebration of a new era. Those who did not vote for the president still watch the ceremony on television, and wonder what the next four years will bring. We attach symbolism to whether the new president walks or rides in a car down Pennsylvania Avenue, the chosen guest speakers and performers, and the president’s first official act, often signing a piece of legislation or policy.
As we live our lives, every once in a while we find ourselves in these moments of epiphany, where we see more clearly who God is, and in that light, what we can become. I have a great father, but I did not really fully appreciate why God is called “Our Father” in the Bible until I became a father. Through my relationship with my daughter, I see how loving God is, and how loving I can become; both are greater than I previously imagined. Continue reading Call to Worship: What Can We Become
In elementary school, my friends and I played sports during nearly every recess. A team captain usually picked me somewhere in the middle; nobody wants to be picked last. Most of us did not care which team we played for; we always played our best, knowing that new teams would be chosen next recess. Playing to the best of one’s ability could mean the difference between moving up or down in the picking order.
Someone posed the following question to me. If you had to choose one of these two people to narrate the story of your life which would you choose: Morgan Freeman or Jame Earl Jones?
Continue reading Call to Worship: The Voice of God
I enjoy The Matrix movies. I remember watching the original movie release around Easter in 1999, and being pleasantly surprised at all the parallels between the stories of Jesus and Neo. Choi even says these words to Neo “Hallelujah. You’re my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ.” Continue reading Call to Worship: Epiphany