Recently, my dad celebrated his 81st birthday. My mom knew how hard it is to surprise Dad, so the owners of the local coffee shop made two coconut pies and set them at a special table in the adjacent dining area. I arrived to find my dad still near the entrance, seated at a table, with coffee in hand and talking to two friends – one on either side of him. They saw me come in, but since his back was to the door, he didn’t immediately see me – that is until I gave him a big hug around the neck. One friend commented that he knew I was related to Joe (my dad) when I came in the door because I bore a resemblance to him.
As our church – Wesley – is embarking of a summer of Praying the Lord’s Prayer at Noon, we are also taking one phrase of that prayer for deeper reflection each week. This week’s words are, “Our Father.”
Our reminds us that God is parent to all of us. While I may be my father’s only daughter – yes, a Daddy’s girl – my Father in heaven loves me no less because I share God with all others within humanity. That makes me a sibling by holy connection to residents of the Congo, leaders in Congress, people in the pews, and the person pushing the shopping cart with all her belongings. We are connected because we bear the image of the One who created us into the masterpieces that we are and in whom we know LIFE.
Now some people balk at the reference to Father because of negative experiences with an earthly father, but our Holy Parent is father to the fatherless, nurturing like a mother hen who cares for her chicks, and the source of our encouragement, hope, and love – especially love.
By beginning the Lord’s Prayer, we acknowledge we are in this experience called life TOGETHER as holy siblings, and that we bear the image of love and grace by the One who created us – Father, Abba, Parent. Jesus called to “Father” when he gave praise, when he was in need, when he sought guidance, and when he interceded on our behalf.
I hope I not only bear a resemblance to my earthly father, but also to my heavenly father. I also hope that I keep my eyes open to see Our Father in the faces of those I encounter – even if by surprise – each and every day. And maybe, just maybe, when I give one of them a hug, I’ll feel that divine hug from “Our Father” in return. After all, I am His girl too.