By Thomas Morehead
Consider if you will Jesus’ message regarding our relationship with God. Jesus told us to call God “Our Father.” More specifically He used the word Abba, which is better translated daddy or papa. A term of familiarity and endearment that connotes a closeness that we may not experience in our daily lives, but one that clearly Jesus tells us we should.
By the time of Jesus’ ministry much of the Old Testament view of God had been replaced. The notion of a warm and caring God was supplanted with that of an all-powerful Lord who required strict adherence to His laws and harshly punished the unrighteous. The loving God of creation had been forgotten. There are many references to God as a loving and caring parent in the Hebrew Scriptures, Dt 1,31: Is 49,15: and Ho 11,1, just to mention a few. The Hebrews abandoned this, or at least ignored it. They no longer looked upon God as the loving protector that held them safe in the desert for forty years. Rather they focused on the God of righteousness that sent them into captivity because of their sinfulness. Jesus aspired to change this, and not change really as much as remind the chosen people.
If we focus on God in the way Jesus instructed, then our entire approach to Him changes. Who cannot imagine as a child running to their father and literally leaping into his arms? Wanting to share good news or in need of comfort or protection; whatever the reason, the desire and need to be close to our dad is powerful. This is exactly the way Jesus told us to relate to God, Our Father. Leap into His arms with the unbridled love of a child. Don’t fear God; for why would one fear the love of a caring and protective Father? Don’t walk on egg shells afraid to make a mistake. We cannot earn God’s love nor can we do anything to cause God to stop loving us. We can reject His love that is our free will, but our refusal to accept His love does not change the fact that He loves us.
At Baptism we are born of the spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to call God Abba - Father. We are God’s children, born of the Spirit into the family that we call the Body of Christ. We are brothers and sisters. We are one in the Lord. Jesus is our brother; His Father is our Father! Let us embrace God our Father, leap into his loving arms by doing what is pleasing to Him as Jesus always did.