8. Father

"Our Father" reminds us that God is creator and is everyone's father. All people are his children and in his family, so mankind is a brotherhood. We have heard that thesis from our earliest memories. Do we act as if we really believe it?

If there is such a brotherhood of mankind, it operates under the Cain and Abel syndrome. There is little brotherly love and much sibling rivalry. Person to person competition, even for parking slots, is intense and often violent.

The brotherhood of mankind in this prayer is not Jesus' main theme. In the Lord's Prayer, you are confirming a real live God as your Father. Anything less ignores the potency of this opening statement. The God of all creation is your father. But what does Father mean in this prayer?

In Jesus' times, both in the East (Oriental world) and the West (Greco-Roman world) the father totally controlled his family. The father owned all the property and made all the decisions. The children were always subject to the father's supervision. In return, the father provided all the children with protection and prosperity. His duty was to protect his children from want.

While family members had their father's love and support, they could leave the family. Those who left the family were on their own without any of their father's support. Once gone, they would continue to have their father's love but ceased to have his presence, power, prestige, or wealth.

Do you live in your Father's house, under his love and protection, or are you living out on your own?

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