Our Father’s fathering
A Christian Science perspective: Celebrate Father’s Day with Jesus’ teaching.
On Sunday, June 21, many people in the United States will be celebrating Father’s Day. Neither my biological father nor my stepfathers are alive to celebrate with me, but I still like to participate in Father’s Day by celebrating God, my – and everyone’s – divine Father.
This concept of God as Father was given by Christ Jesus when he gave his followers the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Whenever I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, I didn’t really think of God as Father in any deep sense. To me, prayer was like saying, “Hello, I need help.” So, it took me a while to think of God as my Father. I tended to think of Him more as a Rescuer than as a Father who was always there to guide and help me.
When I learned about Christian Science and began to study Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” my understanding of God’s fathering deepened. In her book, she states: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332).
Through this passage I learned that God isn’t a kind of call center in the sky that’s waiting to dispatch divine aid in emergencies. Rather, we have a “tender relationship” to divine Love, our Father-Mother, who is reliable at all times and in all places. His care is ever present and trustworthy; always cherishing and guiding us.
This doesn’t mean that God knows us as material beings – that I am short and maybe you are tall. Rather, Father-God sees us as His likeness, expressing spiritual qualities such as intelligence, love, joy, gentleness, purity, and truth. These and other attributes describe our spiritual inheritance from our Father-Mother God, who is Spirit.
Because this relationship is spiritual, we can never lose our inheritance from Spirit. In other words, even if we seem to be the result of a biological process, our true nature is spiritual. And this is true of our human fathers and mothers as well.
All of us are the outcome of the one God, the loving Father whom Christ Jesus taught and with whom he was willing to trust his life, even so far as to face crucifixion. His trust in his inseparable relation to God was well founded, as shown clearly in his resurrection, a powerful proof of God’s fathering love for all of us.
Embracing our spiritual relationship to God brings practical and reliable fathering and guidance into our thoughts and therefore into our lives, and it touches the lives of others. From a human standpoint we may hear His direction as a spiritual intuition that protects us, like a thought, “Don’t go down that street.” God may also inspire us to make peace with someone with whom we are in conflict.
For example, during a conflict with my stepfather after my mother’s passing, it seemed that there was no solution. I felt frustrated, angry, and powerless. I prayed and prayed. Finally, desperate not for a resolution of the situation, but to be free of the anger I was feeling, I just asked Father-God for that freedom.
Instantly, two things happened. First, I saw the situation from my stepfather’s point of view, and second, I felt assured that our impasse would be resolved. Within a few days, everything was amicably taken care of.
I’ve had many proofs of God’s fathering care since then, and in my prayers I’ve found Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer invaluable. One passage I find especially meaningful is: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” / For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All” (Science and Health, p. 17).
This thought that the kingdom belongs to God, our Father, has been so transformational for me. It means our Father is governing – not intermittently intervening at certain times, but presently fathering all of us right now, wherever we are.
This day and all days, we are living in our Father’s kingdom, the realm of Love, not in the kingdom of inharmony, fear, or other trouble. As we mentally cherish our “tender relationship” to Father-God, we become more aware that His infinite, spiritual, saving presence is here for all of us. Our Father is with us and our loved ones. And He is with you, Dads, on Father’s Day and on all days.