Whose Father?

As a young boy I learned what may be the most famous prayer in all the world. It starts out “Our Father who art in heaven.” Only decades later did it hit me … whose father?

The walk of faith in the Western world is taught as a very private experience. We’re told to have a personal relationship with Jesus, to remain silent in church meetings, to receive divine guidance on an individual basis. A popular Christian campfire song even says “Though none go with me, still I will follow.”

While there may be some value at rare moments in this sense of rugged spiritual individualism, I think it misses the mark in the big picture. The times I’ve been closest to God have been in the context of true, honest, transparent relationships with others. There I find ways to express and receive His love, acceptance, and – when I need it – His correction as well.

I think there’s a deep, subtle message in that prayer I learned as a child. He’s “our” father … as in not just “my” father, but that of a community of people. And for some reason, I really like it that way.


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2 Responses to Whose Father?

  1. Alan W. says:

    In his book, Children of the Lie, M. Scott Peck wrote about people who reject God’s existence and perpetrate all manner of cruel and selfish acts against their fellow man. The Lord’s Prayer and its “Our Father” inclusivenes does indeed spell out the spiritual Truth of our human existence: We are all God’s children and it is in fellowship with each other that we often find Him present and at work in our lives.

  2. Deb D. says:

    You have a gift of shedding new light on something so very familiar. A new perspective that is always refreshing.

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