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Faith Daily |16 June 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 526


Father, we praise you,

that through your Word and Holy Spirit

you created all things;

you reveal your salvation in all the world

through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh;

through your Holy Spirit you give us a share

in your life and love:

fill us with the vision of your glory,

that we may always serve and praise you,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen



GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 6: 7-15


7 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.


9 ‘Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. 14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


GOSPEL REFLECTION: Graeme Curnow


In this passage Jesus is instructing His disciples, past, present and future, how to pray. It is a cornerstone for building our faith and our individual relationship with our God.


In this critical teaching Jesus refers to God as “Father”. The concept of the fatherhood of God exists in the Old Testament but in the New Testament it really comes into focus. Jesus words in the Gospels and the epistles of Paul, Peter, John and James refer to God as Father at least 213 times, (nearly twice as many times as the topic of the Kingdom).


Why then has it become trendy to refer to God as “She”, which Kristina Kenneally did in a recent interview following her electoral defeat in the Fowler Electorate?


Could this be some Woke strategy? In 1979 the Episcopal Church in the USA revised its prayerbook so that God is no longer referred to by masculine pronouns.


Some may think that modern Christians live in a time where images risk becoming socially, politically or even morally inadequate but imaginary concepts of God do not have the authority of Jesus own words in Scripture nor those of the earliest Christians. The use of masculine pronouns for God is validated by the personal witnessing by Jesus that He is the Son of God and by his teaching that God is both His and OUR Father. Refer also to Pauls reminder in Colossians C1:v15, that Jesus is the image of the invisible God plus, in His earthly form, Jesus was a man.


Although God is the Creator He is living, loving and caring, treating all family members equally and in accordance with their needs. God is active in both the world and in people’s lives. These are characteristics of fatherhood.


Pragmatically, the generating of offspring requires the involvement of both male and female, (which is ordained by God). It is undisputed that Mary fulfilled the female role. Through the Holy Spirit, God is Jesus’ other parent. If Jesus were the product of two female parents then He would not be representative of the rest of humanity, for whom he was born to save.


Feminist theologian Judith Plaskow notes that - “Instead of pointing to and evoking the reality of God, our images block the possibility of religious experience.” She thinks that limiting God to masculine pronouns and imagery limits the religious experience of Christians. I do not accept her postulation but if she was correct then it is a corollary that the use of feminine images and pronouns must also limit the religious experience of Christians.


Even worse, the practice of referring to God as ”She” evokes the pagan concept of Mother Earth or the Great White Spirit being infused into Christian thinking.


Surely that is blasphemous?


Christians who discount the teaching of Jesus in Scripture, so they can conform to socially acceptable fads would do well to contemplate Verse 7 in today’s Bible passage and consider how that might change their praying.

Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People

I conclude with Underhill’s ‘prayer on Prayer’ – it is longish, but I could not decide which verses to not leave with you! As we yield to prayer……

FINAL PRAYER APBA p558


O God,

the light of the minds that know you,

the life of the souls that love you,

the strength of the thoughts that seek you:

help us so to know you that we may truly love you,

and so to love you that we may fully serve you,

whose service is perfect freedom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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