Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Father, Abba, Dad, Daddy

Lately I have been thinkin'.  How does our relationship with our own father frame our relationship with God.  Now, I am no biblical scholar, though I read some, and I am no psychologist so have no fear of "being shrunk".  But let's think about this for just a moment or two.  Our very first father child relationship is with our own dad, most of the time.  I know there are some that perhaps your father was not in your life but that is very important also.  I think it is this from this springboard that we first begin to envision what God must be like.  After all, when we come across the bible it talks about Our Father.   Fathers can be aloof patriarchs, stern disciplinarians, loving fathers, a good friend, a part time dad, a non-existent father, or any combination of the above or maybe something not mentioned.  This relationship is frequently (though not always) noted by the use of the name given to your dad.  For example I always called my dad, dad.  Others may use the appellation Father (as Wilma does) and of course we know that Jesus liked the name Abba or daddy (Goran, is this the correct translation?).  At least that is what I have been taught. 

For me, I lost my father when I was seventeen. (actually didn't lose him, he died from a blood clot).  There are two things about that.  First, I had a rare glimpse of what his friends thought of him.  See, my dad was a fireman, and when he threw his clot he was at home.  The department responded and to watch those men work on my dad was a sight to behold.  He was clearly loved by his fellow workers.  In essence, I think I can draw from that (plus a couple of other incidents) he was a very good friend.  Second, I grew up without benefit of an older dad.  Of course dad would have been older but I had no chance for an adult relationship with him.  I needed to search other places to find that relationship, if for no other reason than to be a dad to my two children. Anyway,  I have a mix of my own experiences along with the bible and especially the Lord's Prayer.  So my interpretation of God is the loving Father but one who cares as much for friends, who wants everyone to be together.  The two great commandments mean a great deal to me.  The Eucharist means a great deal to me.  Parables like the good Samaritan and the father in the prodigal son stick with me easily.  I can quote those stories with ease.  When Jesus spoke to his dad he said Abba, I can easily relate to that.  But this is just me.

So, how about you?  First, does your relationship with your father frame your relationship with God and if so why?  If, not why?