WHAT WE CALL God is important; it is anchored to our emotions, even though we may be unaware of that. The fact that some people become upset at hearing God addressed in unfamiliar ways demonstrates the emotional ties to names for God. While calling God father reveals something of the relationship God wants with us, others might understand that relationship better by calling God mother. The isue is not the word we use for God but what image of God enables us to know God’s love, approach God gladly, and feel that we are warmly welcomed.
Some people grew up in churches or traditions that named or described God more often as a judge than as a loving parent. Bible verses such as “Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, or he will be angry and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled” (Psalm 2:11) evoke uncomfortable emotional memories. God has been painted too often as an avenger surrounded by eternal fire. Jesus’ model prayer invites us to look at God differently, to discover that no matter what we have experienced — the best and the worst — the relationship God offers is far richer, deeper, and more healing than we have ever had with any person. Whatever we need to call God in order to enter fully into that relationship, Jesus would no doubt approve of.
- Mary Lou Redding
The Lord’s Prayer
From pages 22-23 of The Lord’s Prayer: Jesus Teaches Us How to Pray by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright © 2011 by Mary Lou Redding. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
What name do you use for God most often when you pray? What about this image of God draws you toward God?
But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Ruth 1:16, NRSV
This Week: pray for those seeking employment. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
Did You Know?
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This week we remember Jude (October 28).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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