“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9b-10, NIV
“Our Father;” Making Room For All
Pastor Rick Warren recently made this poignant statement: “The church was at its best, at its birth.” This is a profound truth, that should resonate in the minds and hearts of all true believers. Warren was responding to the Southern Baptist Convention’s decision to uphold its inflexible and errant policy of believing there is no place for women as pastors; or for that matter, any form of pastoral ministry, in the church. Pastor Warren’s point was that the “best” of what we’ve seen of the Christian Church was the era after Pentecost, when the church became inclusive, with varied people, groups, and languages. Unlike the Biblical church, the Southern Baptists chose uniformity over unity. This is both sad and shameful; although not unexpected. An experience such as this, is a reminder that we should always look to Jesus to find our way through the morass of confusion we confront. The prayer template Jesus gives us begins with adoration to God, as “Our Father.” The term speaks fundamentally to the fact that God embraces all who worship Him, and place their trust in His sovereignty. Unlike tribal deities of ancient times, our God hears us, and desires to give us provisions that add quality, renewal, and strength to our lives. Whether you can recall pleasant or unpleasant experiences with your earthly father; our God, as David said, is always on the “side of life.” Whatever makes us better, God is pleased and poised to provide. God is never far removed from us; although events in our lives may cause us to think so. God is always near us; close as a nudge, and deep as the air we breathe. When on an occasion, a disciple asked Jesus to teach them to pray, we have no idea who that disciple was, or what the motive was. We do know, Jesus took the occasion to teach the disciples by providing them with guidance in praying. Jesus did not begin the prayer by saying ‘My Father,’ but “Our Father.” Jesus invites us to come to Our Father; acknowledging Him as our own, and knowing that nothing can separate us from His great love!