Thursday, October 15, 2009

Daddy Time

First of all, I want to thank Mary Andreolli for filling the pulpit last Sunday; as well as for the wonderful things she said about Broadneck Baptist in the October Connections.

Next, I want to say how much I'm looking forward to hearing Jeremy talk about his trip to Georgia and what it taught him. I am eager to hear how God is going to speak to us through him this Sunday. (I had to come back and edit here...because I think Jeremy is preaching Sunday and Joann the next. I get confused when I'm gone. What is going to happen is one Sunday Jeremy will talk about Georgia; the next Joann will speak about her experiences in Zimbabwe. In both cases I expect that God will have something important to say to us).

Even though I'm not preaching this week, I wanted to share with you some thoughts I've been having lately. These thoughts were triggered by the new addition at our house. Hannah is a 12 week old black lab puppy. Bert Taylor brought her up from N.C. last weekend with her sister (who quickly won Donna Farthings heart and now lives with Donna and Paul).

This morning, while playing with Hannah before work, I was thinking about how important this "Daddy Time" was. My mind moved pretty quickly to the new babies coming into our congregation....and their needs. Then, pretty quickly actually, I got to thinking about my own need for "Daddy Time" with God.

Though I'm a little chagrined to say it, I had this moment when I was rubbing Hannah's soft fur when I thought, "I just want to be God's puppy; and to feel this kind of love and care and joy coming from God toward me that I'm trying to give this puppy.

Now I know that God is neither male nor female. And I know that "Father" "Abba" "Daddy" (the word that Jesus used was 'Abba' and translates closer to 'Daddy') aren't the only way to look at God as a Parent. But because I am a father; and because (for reasons some of you know) it is easier for me to see God as a Heavenly Father than a Heavenly Mother, I'll ask you to bear with me here. If the idea of 'God the Mother' works better for you, feel free to make the shift in what I'm going to say below.

My point is that I need....really need....'Daddy Time' with God. I need to feel that unconditional love, that 'touch', that presence. And while I get a lot of that from the community that is the Church; I also need it in one-to-one time with just me and God. As I've gotten older, and struggled with various issues in my life, I've realized even more that this time is not a luxury-but a necessity-if I am going to be able move toward wholeness and health in my faith...not to mention be able to do the work as a pastoring person and therapist that I feel called to do.

But the catch is that I have to make time for this to happen. God won't swoop down, pin me to the floor and say, "we need time together and this is it." I have to make time to pray, to meditate, to sit and be still and let God be present to and with me. I have a responsibility in this relationship too.

It's an old story, but it reminds me of my own situation so often:

The old couple was coming back from town in the wagon; and the wife looks at her husband saying, "how come we never sit all cuddled up on the seat on the way back from town? When we first got married we always did that. It was so wonderful. Why don't we do it anymore?" Her husband looked over at her from his seat behind the horse and said, "I ain't moved none."

God's love is constant. God doesn't move in this regard. If anyone has moved to the end of the seat, it's me. I need to remind myself of this, not to flog myself with it...but to motivate myself to make the time, expend the energy, to grow in this relationship with the God who created me, loves me, and calls me to partner with God and God's church in deeds of mercy, love, and justice. All these things are rooted in, and grow out of, the personal relationship that we have with God in Jesus. We need to cultivate that relationship.

I'm looking forward to Sunday and hope to see you at church as we listen to Jeremy and Joann.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

For me, the type of time you describe is found in two initially very different areas - music making and in our Thursday meditation group. Without either one, I feel strange. I feel a little lost. I feel more tightly wound, but less focused on the things that really (should) matter. These give me engaged time with God as I try to move a little closer (oh, so, so slowly).

Even so, I wonder about this idea you've laid out. I would love to be able to let myself be as free with God as you wonderfully describe with the dogs. I've certainly thought about this with my cats! I have no doubt that it can happen sometime with us - I'm certainly not going to put limits on God or how God interacts with his people! But for me, I'm not there. As Philip Yancey says, I'm "reaching for God who is invisible, intangible," and who is incomprehensibly farther removed from me (physically and mentally) than I am from my cats. For me, "Daddy/Mommy time" is hard to understand in this context - and I wish, how I wish I could.

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying, just that I need to temper my expectations, be patient (ha!), and all that.