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Heavenly father shows the way



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June 23, 2010 - When I was younger my children gave me a T-shirt that I grew very fond of. It said: "Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy."

Many people might wonder about the difference between the two. Turning to the Word of God it becomes evident to us what the difference is.

Three times in the New Testament, Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6 we find the words "Abba, Father" used together.

The three usages, while referring to the same thing, are used in quite different circumstances. What strong words of God to us, especially when used together.

In Mark Jesus knows His death is eminent. He is in the Garden of Gethsemane, kneeling in earnest prayer, seeking God's Will and the strength to face what is before Him.

As Paul writes to the Roman Christians, he reminds us that, in Baptism, our old sinful nature is put to death and we are given new life as children of the same Heavenly Father, our Abba.

He also tells us, as he writes the Galatians, that in this new relationship with our Heavenly Father we have become heirs with the promise and certainty of the inheritance placed before us in Christ Jesus.

Father is a word that has a stronger biological sense in our world today. The Father is the male parent.

Thus, when we think of God, our Heavenly Father, we remember that He is the One Who brings all things into existence. Without Him, nothing is.

Abba, on the other hand, is a relational word. Today we might translate it with the word "daddy". God wants us to remember that He has established an important relationship with us.

He leads and guides us with a love that reaches out through His Son from the cross and brings sinful mankind back into the familial relationship with Him.

We, the prodigal, the rebellious children, are made one with Him, are made heirs of His Heavenly Kingdom. This comes to us through Jesus' loving act — dying on the cross and rising from dead to defeat death and the devil.

How did you celebrate Father's Day this year? By gathering with your father? How about your daddy? Or, maybe more importantly, with your Abba, Father, in worship to celebrate His loving forgiveness to you.

Be blessed to be a blessing to others!

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

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