In the middle of class I said that Faith, like the “most beautiful place you’ve ever seen” is less like something we “know” and more like something we “believe.” It’s an important distinction. And although there are some certainties about our faith, there are more things to believe in. In faith, we act and live out of those things we trust or believe as much as what we know is for certain.
We began by saying, in the words of the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” We talked about God as both the Almighty, the first cause of all that is and as Our Father, or Mother. Here we heard that Jesus called God “Abba” which is really “Daddy” to illustrate for us, how intimate God’s desire is to be in a relationship with us.
Relationships have been in the news a lot this week. They are every week if you read and listen closely enough. This week it just all seems a little more obvious for someone like me who follows sports. In the middle of all this it occurs to me to remember that when we call God (a mother or father) we are using a metaphor that for most of us works well - but for others of us may not. “God is a like a loving parent who wants to be close to us,” is the mantra I will teach later in the year. I stress the words, “like” and “loving.”
One of the interesting things about middle age for me is the discovery that you never stop being a parent. Sure your role changes and things become less intense but it’s also somewhat true as I often joke, that all I went through to this point was, “Preparation.” I tried my best to be a good father. I’m still trying. When I see my kids now; I see two young adults who are making their way through life mostly on their own, with skill and grace although it is on a very different plan than the one I had in mind.
I’ve often judged myself harshly as a parent. Believing that many things I did wrong or did not do right have come back to forever hinder my children, Greg and Anna. But both my kids are at a point in their lives now where they say things like, “You know that’s not true, Dad.” I find this response both reassuring and containing something of the loving parent God is to me.
You see, I know I made some mistakes. I’d go so far as to say the mistakes I made as a parent I worry about the most are a bit obvious, when my kids tell me what is really bothering them. And yet, even though my kids are the ones who have to live with my mistakes, they have found it in their heart to forgive me. They do not excuse me. No, in our family we are very good at knowing. Why… Who... Does… What… but we are also very forgiving.
This forgiveness has helped me to see another side of myself, which is that my mistakes do not have to forever define who I am. They can, but they don’t have to. My mistakes, even my biggest ones I believe can be redeemed. I can’t prove that, I don’t know it for sure, but I do believe that because; well just look at my kids.