Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Father

It was six o’clock in the morning. My husband and I were drinking coffee in our pajamas and watching the early-riser baby roam, climb and waddle around the room with her hands behind her back like the old Albanian men in worn jackets who took laps around the wilted park in Korcha summers before. Between sips he turned to me and said, “This baby delights me.” In his words I saw a space open where the pendulum had passed, and before it could change course and return the way it came I darted upstairs, leaving him to revel alone in the magic of fatherhood before sunrise. Time alone is hard to come by. I set my coffee cup down, rubbed my eyes and began to write.

But with the days I have frequently returned to his comment and the light in his eyes when he made it. And the unspoken vows to his children that rise from his very center. Yes, he would stop traffic or a speeding bullet for one of these. Walk across coals, nails, or desert miles. He would also go each day to his job and work with character and diligence, even when he does not feel like it. Even when it is sunny and he has a shiny bicycle at home. He loves them. To him, these three are delightful.

I just began reading With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray. He reminds that in Christ’s modeled prayer for his disciples he scandalously taught them to call great and mighty God their very own father. “Our Father, who art in heaven.” No one before had dared walk into the Holy of Holies to sit on the lap of Papa. Yet these, with Christ as mediator between God and man, were free to trade elaborate ceremony and a cord around the ankles for a space at the dinner table. With Dad. And so Murray says, “the knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer.”

There is noise, constant motion and enough to eat. And although I am deeply grateful these still make it hard to peel back the carnal layers and see the spiritual realities that run like rivers under the ground. It is difficult to sit still and ponder the ludicrous gift of my adoption by faith into the family. It is difficult to picture my Heavenly Father, waking early to drink coffee and smile over my toddlings and the mud pies I make with young and naive hands.

“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven . . .” Matthew 6:9

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