Meditations on God the Father

 

5 days of meditation are presented below on God the Father

Day 1

God the Father

Christian theology depends primarily upon God's self-revelation, and the best starting point in any discussion of the doctrine of God is probably the appearance in the burning bush in Exodus Chapter 3. There God's name is given as YHWH, from the root meaning to be. Moses is to tell the Children of Israel "I AM has sent me". In other words, God is being, the source of being, the soul of reality, but the Being is a personal being, and the Reality a saving reality, for the theophany at Horeb is not only a revelation of God's name but a declaration of His benevolent purpose.

"I have surely seen the affliction of my people...and I am come down to save them"; this is the keynote of Scripture - Bible history is salvation history, the record of what God has done for man's redemption, and everything in nature and experience is seen in the light of Yahweh's gracious purpose. The heavens may declare the glory of God, but it is the glory of a God who pities His children, leads His flock like a shepherd and is constantly seeking to reclaim the lost. The wonder of creation is not its complexity, but its raison d'etre, that God made the world to be man's home. Accordingly, the doctrine of creation is not primary, and Hebrew emphasis is not upon such attributes as omnipotence and omniscience etc, which are philosophically appropriate to a Prime Mover or Great Designer, but on the personal and moral qualities associated with redemptive love and with a Being who can be called Husband, Father and Friend.

The twin concepts of personality and saving love are basic to the Hebrew doctrine of God the Father which, in turn, is the foundation of New Testament theology. Yahweh is often enough depicted in anthropomorphic terms, but this is not because the Israelites thought of God as man writ large; rather it is an attempt to express the intensely personal nature of One who is no aloof, unfeeling deity, but a Redeemer-God who enters into active and intimate relationships with men, who will look for Adam in the garden, call Abraham His friend and talk with Moses face to face. That is not to say that Yahweh is wholly immanent: indeed, He is a transcendent Being, majestic and awe-inspiring; but transcendence does not make Him remote. He is the One who inhabits eternity, but who also dwells with those of a humble and contrite spirit. From the outset, God is revealed as the sort of deity who might well, in the fullness of time, become incarnate and dwell among us.

-taken from Malcolm Furness's Vital Doctrines of the Faith, p 7-8

Day 2

The Holiness of God

God's transcendence is expressed in terms of holiness, the root meaning of which is separate. God is not man, His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways, and the difference between God and man is not simply one of scale, but of radical "otherness": there is none like unto Yahweh. This transcendent other-ness is, moreover, primarily moral. Yahweh is of eyes too pure to behold iniquity; righteousness is the mainspring of His being and finds expression in a constancy of love-kindness which is what the Bible means by His unchangeableness. What theologians sometimes call the "relative attributes" of God - omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence etc. - can undoubtedly be found in Scripture, for His power, knowledge and presence are not subject to any externally imposed limitation; but they are not central to what the Prophets and Psalmists had to say about God. The thing that matters is that Yahweh is the Holy One of Israel, unchanging in His constancy of righteous love which wills the salvation of men; God is supremely Father, and to His fatherly purposes His power, knowledge and presence are ever bent.

-taken from Malcolm Furness's Vital Doctrines of the Faith, p 8-9

Day 3

A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER
by John Donne
I.

WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

II.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

III.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore ;
And having done that, Thou hast done ;
I fear no more.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source:
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 213.


Day 4

God's Covenant Love

The constancy of God's love and the perfection of His holiness alike find expression in covenant. Divine love is no chancy affair, but is made to depend upon an agreement which He makes with man. The covenant of Horeb/Sinai made with Moses is the classic example, but earlier covenants with Adam (Gen. 15:18) and Noah (Gen. 9:9-17) extend the scope to cover all mankind. God will be our God, and we are to be His people, but because Yahweh is holy, covenant demands obedience to His righteous law. The holiness that God requires of men is not, certainly, His moral perfection, much less His "Goddishness", but it is a degree of moral earnestness: to the Hebrew, religion without morality would have been almost a contradiction in terms. Morality is not the whole of religion, but it is a necessary part, and Israel is not allowed to forget that the loving-kindness of God is "to such as keep His covenant and remember His commandments to do them"

-taken from Malcolm Furness's Vital Doctrines of the Faith, p 9

Day 5

Oh God
Father of each human being

You ask each of us to carry love
To the places where the poor are humiliated
Joy to the places where the Church is brought low,
Reconciliation to the places where men are divided,
Father against son,
Mother against daughter,
Husband against wife,
The believer against those who find it
impossible to believe,
The Christian against his unloved brother Christian.
You open the way for us,
So that the wounded Body of Jesus
Christ, Your Church,
May become the leaven of Communion
For the poor of the earth,
And the whole human family.

-composed by Mother Teresa and Brother Roger Schultz