Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Imitating the Perfect Father

As we are in search of a model for parenting, it's easy to dismiss God as a role model, because the Son He sent was perfect. We see in the relationship between the Father and the Son, perfect obedience, perfect mutual regard, perfect mutual respect, perfect joy, but we don't see how to get there.

However, God has another 'son', Israel. Throughout the Scriptures, God calls His people both son and daughter, and if we observe His dealings with them, we can see a pattern for parenting.

God brought His people out of Egypt as an infant. The first thing He did with them when they were clear of danger was to give them the Law and the Feasts - boundaries and celebrations. We understand the boundaries thing. We are continually clarifying and enforcing boundaries for our young children. They keep our children safe and train them in civilized behavior.

But celebrations are a striking innovation. What do regular celebrations accomplish in the life of a family? Well, in the case of Israel, celebrations reminded them of the good things God had done for them, of the adventures they had had together. Celebrations made being "at home" with God a place of rest, of feasting, of joy. When Israel was sent into exile in Babylon, it was the feasts' passing that made the people particularly homesick for both their land and their God.

Celebrations were God's recipe for homesickness. Hmmm...more about this next time.


Zac Hicks said...

Great post, Kim! It made me recall a theology prof's discussion of the Trinity in conjunction with the doctrine of adoption. He said, which sounds almost blasphemous (the most profound theological truths often sound near blasphemous to conventional ears), "Think of God as Father and Jesus as your elder brother" (he also mentioned the Spirit, of course, but that's beyond the purpose here). We're adopted into the Trinitarian "family" as a kind of ingrafted "fourth" member. No, we're not the fourth member of the Trinity, but we're so radically adopted into God's interpersonal fellowship that we are considered His child much as Christ was the Child of the Father. Hmmm...

Kim Anderson said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Zac! It is wonder-full to consider the radical nature of God's involvement with us. That he offers intimacy to such as we are is pretty mind-boggling. And that He then also offers that interaction as a pattern for our relationships with others is disturbingly challenging.


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