Sunday, February 10, 2008

Abi's Lent: Day Five

Chapter 3 of The Jesus Creed starts with two readings from scripture: The Lord's Prayer and The Prodigal Son. I was particularly pleased to see the emphasis Scot makes concerning the focus on the parable is on the father, not either of the sons. I have heard it suggested that this should more rightly be called the parable of The Prodigal Father, in the sense that prodigal doesn't necessarily connote anything bad -- it connotes extravagance that verges on wasteful.

And this, of course, takes me back to The Shack -- and a vision of a Heavenly Papa whose love is so extravagant that some might consider it wasteful. Jonah has this same problem with God, who wanted to redeem the horribly sinful people of Ninevah. Jonah was incensed that God would not rather torch the city ... even after the king and all the residents of that city repented of their sins!

So the struggle continues -- the struggle to believe that God does indeed love us! Not only do we struggle to believe it, we struggle to then live in that love. We are surprised that Papa seems to be awfully fond of, well, everybody! Even those who are in open rebellion against him! What's up with that?!?

But the love of a Papa (or Mama ;^) ) for his precious one-of-a-kind children is, indeed, prodigal. It is wildly extravagant. And so some will find it shamefully wasteful ... but only if they see it as a scarce commodity (put on your economics hat with me and Michael Kruse). We have troubles with power when we see it as scarce and we have trouble with love in the same way.

Papa's love, however, is not scarce. It is both abundant and eternal -- endless. Papa's love for us, as well as his ability to love through us, is only limited by our perception.

So many simple truths are so hard to wrap our brains around....

This bring us to the importance of seeing Jesus begin his prayer with Abba Pater -- Papa. A journey to my "Little Kittle" reveals that Abba is Aramaic "familiar" for father, but that the Jews almost never used it for God. Here we see Jesus stirring the pot, as it were.

Earlier I said that I didn't see Abba in The Lord's Prayer ... because it is not there. It is found in Mark's account of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. It makes sense to me that Mark would include the Aramaic, since his gospel is the one which gives us these colloquialisms. And that other scholars would suggest that whenever Jesus was using "Pater" he was saying "Abba" and it was being translated into Greek.

Hmmm...does Greek have a familiar for "pater"? That's a word study for another day!

After pondering Scot's ideas about The Lord's Prayer, I began to ruminate about our response to Papa and his prodigal love. It occurred to me that if we cannot extravagantly love Papa as a response to his love for us, we cannot love others -- because we have not accepted that we can love ourselves. This is a deep thing....

Last night I posted my version of The Lord's Prayer, which resulted from this deep pondering. And I changed my closing to "Leaning on Papa" because I realized that we can receive Papa's love only in Christ, when we trust the love that serves the best interest of the other -- regardless of the wastefully extravagant cost. A very cHesed realization, indeed.

Leaning on Papa.


preacherman said...

I really enjoy your blog. Through prayer this weekend I have felt strengthed. I know God is a God who cares and loves us more than we can begin to fathom. I believe that we are so lucky as to call Him, "Abba Father", Daddy. A daddy who takes care of us in and every situation of life as we learn to trust Him completely.
Peggy, great blogging. Keep it up sister.
Your brother in Christ,
Kinney Mabry

I will update you when I find out on the EEG tests this week. I am continuing in constant prayer and trust that all will be well. Thank you again for you support and prayer. I have felt it today.

AbiSomeone said...

Thanks, Bro. Kinney, for your encouragment and for the update. May you continue to feel Papa's arms around you as you lean into his strength, even in the midst of your weakness.

Be blessed....