Cry “Abba Father”

15 Jul

The reading in the book of Romans includes this address to God; Abba Father. The apostle Paul is writing about the new relationship with God that has been created with God. It is amazing to me that a man who grew up as a pious Jew would be able to change his understanding so drastically. A good Jew would not even say the name of God, only “Blessed be he who. . .” God was powerful and more than a little scary to most faithful Jew.

But now, through Christ, God becomes Papa. It is what the word Abba means. When my children started talking, I decided that men took the first sound a baby could say and decided it was about them. In any case, this shift in understanding about the name and nature of God is HUGE. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way.

15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Do you believe that God is “Papa?” Is there a desire/ache in you to be with God, tell the Divine all about your life; sit in uninterrupted time to enjoy communion together? One thing I love about Paul’s writings in the passion in them. Paul’s passion brings understanding to who we are and whose we are. It is God who confirms the very essence of our being.

It is our relationship with God that names and claims us and gives our life meaning. Yesterday I preformed a funeral for a wonderful member of my St. Paul’s church. He was a open, generous, and loving young man – just 37. He was also a husband and football coach. On a typical Sunday morning there have been about 35 folks in church. Yesterday there were about 300. It was quite literally wall to wall people. Many of them young men who had been coached by Adam.

It was clear that Adam was not just a Christian in church. He took his love of God and put it into action in every part of his life; in his marriage where he made sure his wife knew she was first in his life and on the field with “his kids.” He was a truly loving, caring man who enjoyed every moment of the short time he had on this earth.

And I cry, “Abba, father,” wanting to be held by God in times of grief and loss. Yet, I know God has created us, all of us, as family and the time apart is only a brief moment. I resolve one more time to use those moments well; to live the passion of Paul’s writing; as a person of faith completely in love with the Divine. I want to dance to the beautiful music of the Gospel story and let others see what God can do and, mostly importantly, that they are deep loved by God, their Abba father.

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