God as Father is an image throughout scripture. We pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” with great familiarity.
How is God like a father? More importantly, how does a father help shape our image of God?
Each of us has a human father, and they vary in size, strength, ability, and character. But they all have in common the ability to affect the lives of those entrusted to their care, for good or for bad. What an awesome responsibility!
As we tell our parents preparing their children for First Eucharist, you are your child’s first image of God. Who will God be for your child? A stern disciplinarian to fear or a consistent and loving presence, always there for them?
My own father gifted me with a love for nature. Raised on a farm in Shelby county, he never really left the farm. He would call our attention to the geese overhead, the birds in their nests, and the deer off in the fields. Tucking us in at night he would always exclaim what a lovely little nest we had to sleep in!
In times of distress, the image of being held in God’s palm, just like a bird in a nest, provides me great comfort. I also place those I care about in that same space and trust that God will keep them safe, for I know he loves them even more than I do.
On the day in which we honor our fathers, pause to consider their influence on your spirituality. Thank you to the many fathers who have helped to shape a healthy and loving image of God!
(Patsy Carlson, former Faith Formation Director, Ss John & Paul Parish)