It was such joy to get to share a few thoughts and reflections about “Our Father in Heaven” on Sunday night. If you want to dig more deeply into these ideas, or missed the gathering and want to catch up, here are a few of the scripture references, quotes, core ideas, and the recording….
Practices for LIFE in the Now and Not Yet. As a community, we are wrestling with two big questions: (1) What is the LIFE to the full that Jesus Christ invites every one of us into? and (2) What are the practices that help us align to it? Or in other words: What is Jesus’ invitation and how do we say “yes”?
Notes and quotes:
“The ‘address’ part of prayer is of vital significance. We dare not slight or overlook it. It is one of the things that distinguishes prayer from ‘worrying out lout…” (Dallas Willard)
Our Father in Heaven.
(1) OUR. Eugene Peterson writes “With the ‘our’, Jesus puts himself in our company. With the ‘our’, we place ourselves in the company of Jesus and of all who pray.”
-The Creator is not just my God or my tribe’s God. Not just the God of all those who agree with me. But God is the Creator and Lover of every single person on planet earth – past, present, and future. John 3:16. Psalm 24:1. And when we pray, we are joining with this motley, global, diverse, historic family of daughters and sons of the Most High.
(2) FATHER. The eternal Creator of the universe wants a relationship in some personal way with us. Romans 8:15-16 (Voice). 1 John 3 (NIV).
-Two important objections: First, God is Spirit, and not “male” as we understand gender. The scripture is full of references to the maternal/feminine characteristics of God. Second, our human fathers have all misrepresented our Heavenly Father in ways. Get curious about how much our human parents color our view of God. (Download Scott Gibson’s message: “The Practice of Getting Curious“)
(3) HEAVEN. The scriptures are very clear about God’s location. Psalm 139. Acts 17. Matt 28. This theme continues throughout the scriptures and history of the church. Where is God? He is here. Always. Everywhere.
-Many scholars believe that a much better translation of “Our Father, who art in Heaven” is actually “Our Father, in the Heavens.” Or in other words, “Our Father, who fills every molecule from the farthest solar system to the inside of my lungs.” Our Father, who already floods this place and fills the atmosphere. Or in John Ortberg’s beautiful phrase, “Our Father, who is closer than the air we breathe.”
“My starting point is that we’re already there. We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another it means that God is choosing us now and now and now. (Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr)
Finally, for those of you who are a little more visual, here’s the flow on my whiteboard…
May we all have eyes to see.
Grace and peace,