Dave Brisbin | 6.17.18
On Father’s Day: Though the ancient Hebrews who wrote our scripture always referred to God in the masculine as Ab/Father, there is much in scripture that also refers to a feminine nature as well. Hebrews understood that God encompassed both ab and em, father and mother—both are embedded in their language, sacred writings, and world view. But here in the modern West, looking at scripture more literally as we do, God as father eclipses God as mother and presents us with the unbalanced view of God primarily as king, judge, executioner, administrator—all the functions of ab at the expense of the mercy, compassion, intimacy, humility, and vulnerability of God as em/mother. But Jesus comes to our rescue with an ingenious solution: “Abba.” This word for father carried the intimacy, familiarity, and belovedness of a child for her daddy and by using it, Jesus was conveying that he had seen his father’s face and news was good about the nature of our relationship with him. 

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When did he see his father’s face? Contrary to the common view of Western Christianity, the gospels imply that it was during an intense struggle, a wrestling in the wilderness where Jesus stripped his life down to the ground in order to see what was really true. The shape of this wrestling is mirrored over and over in scripture, in Jacob, Moses, and even Philip as they struggle to see their father’s face. It will be no less a wrestling for us to put down whatever we carry that blocks our view so that we can move from ab to abba and see both father and mother in our father’s face.

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