Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Our Father

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Our Father

Article excerpt

WHAT a difference one word makes! In the Bible, Matthew's Gospel records that Christ Jesus taught us to pray that wonderful prayer we call the Lord's Prayer. I've been struck, lately, by the difference it makes to us that Jesus started that prayer by saying "our" rather than "my" Father. The word my implies exclusivity, as if God could be the personal property of one group or one individual over all others. Just the thought of "our Father," on the other hand, immediately recognizes God as the Father of all! To think of God as specially aligned with one group or a single viewpoint runs counter to the Bible's assurance that God is universal Love. There is a story in the Old Testament that has always illustrated to me the love that is inseparable from God's protecting power. Because Elisha's warnings had enabled the king of Israel to evade his enemies, a strong enemy force had surrounded Elisha's village to capture him. Instead, the account in II Kings tells us, Elisha prays and takes the entire enemy army captive. But he does not allow the captives to be killed. They are fed and sent home. There is no further warfare between the two nations. I love this caring, yet powerful gesture of God's universal love (see 6:8- 23). This Bible story can help us see that God, the Father whom we all share, is an impartial but ever-caring God who loves each one of His children. Our Father--since He is Spirit, not matter--attaches no bloodlines, no racial or ethnic divisions, to His creation. To Him, there is only the beauty and perfection of His individual children, who are spiritual and perfect. There is no competition for His attention, only full and equal love for all. If there is disagreement, if there is strife, then, reconciliation starts with the recognition that there is one God and He is our Father--the Father of all. …
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