Happy new year. I hope you had a great break over the Christmas holidays and were able to rest and celebrate amongst the madness of catching up with family and friends and other festivities.
Last half term as part of our collective worship we were considering why we worship, especially looking at the words of hymns we use as part of our worship. This term we are going to be looking at who we worship. The God of Christianity. On Thursday I introduced this topic within the full school worship by considering the fact that we all have a name, and yet we have different characteristics. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, an aunty, a teacher, a friend. I am different things to different people, at different times, and yet I am just one person.
It is the same with God. (Don’t worry I’m not comparing myself with God) within Christianity we worship one God and yet that God is known and experienced in many different ways. Over the next term we will be considering different aspects of God, how we may need different characteristics of God at different times and how God reveals himself to us in different ways.
We are going to start with one element of the Trinity of God as father. I’m not sure what your relationship with your father is, it is going to be different for different people. However, the one thing that is in common for us all is that our father gives us life.
When we think of God as father we think of God the creator, the one who made the heavens and the earth. The one who thought the world into being, because he wanted to be in relationship. Once he had made the heavens and the earth he made humans, in his likeness, so that they could be in relationship with him. The whole of creation comes out of love, we are a reflection of that love. In the book of James it says
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
God, who made the heavens and the earth, chose for each and everyone of us to be.
I’ve always had a bit of an odd relationship with my dad. He’s not really an emotional sort, and we tend to communicate through insults and sarcasm. But I KNOW that he loves me and that he has always got my back. There are two events that stick in my mind. Firstly, there was a time when someone had come round to speak to me about a role I had been doing, and I’d said I didn’t want to do it anymore. It was a horrible meeting and I ended up getting very upset. I found out the next day my dad had gone round to that persons house and said something along the lines of ‘don’t you EVER make my daughter cry again or you will regret it’! I was completely overwhelmed that my dad had responded like that in defence of me. The second event was when I was at university and I got a phone call from my dad. He said that he had phoned my secondary school and had offered a prize to be given at the annual speech day, which would be entitled the ‘Helen Bagnall prize for ‘perseverance ‘. I’d not always had an easy time at school with various health and family issues, and yet I had got my qualifications and been able to attend university. This was my dads way of telling me he was proud of me. Again, I was overwhelmed by this act of love from my dad.
When Jesus was asked how to pray he said that we should start by saying ‘our father in heaven’. We know that he often referred to God as Abba Father – the equivalent of daddy. It is often daunting to think of God as the creator the heavens and the earth – how are we, mere humans who make mistakes constantly, meant to even contemplate approaching Him. As though he is our dad, who loves us, cares for us, will sometimes need to point out our mistakes but will always be there with open arms when we need him – as we are shown in the parable of the prodigal son. The father who is proud of us. When Jesus was baptised we are told there was a voice from heaven saying this is my son with whom I am pleased.
As we look through the Bible there are countless examples of God showing himself as a loving father – if you get the opportunity I urge you to look at the fathers love letter – which can be found if you search for it. So how do we respond? Max Lucado says
God has proven himself a loving father, now we must prove ourselves loving Children
As I said my dad didn’t always tell me that he loved me, and we would mainly communicate through insults and sarcasm, and yet there were so many actions that made m now that love was there. My role then, was to try to be a good daughter, to show him that I loved him. Whether that was through entertaining discussions about cricket or speedway, or watching a programme he wanted, or actually just making sure my mum was ok. These actions, were a reflection of that love for him.
Do we know that God loves us as his children? If not, then ask questions, find out more about it.
If we do know that God loves us as his children, how do we reflect that love and show Him our love for Him and be loving children?
Challenge: either think about ways in which you recognise God as father in your life, or find out ways that God has demonstrated this in the Bible.
Prayer: Father God we thank you that you chose to create this world, and that you chose to create us. We thank you that you are not a distant God but that you want to be our dad, and you want us to be your children. He us to recognise that love, and to demonstrate that love back to you. Amen.