Au fil du texte

In our Father' house

24 juin 2019

This summer we are studying the gospel of Luke on Sunday and the gospel of Matthew during the week. 

Family… friends… the two are important@

Luke is the evangelist of the  humble classes (shepherds, widows, handicapped or injured, lost sons)  He is also the evangelist of the Realm of God and of a certain family spirit.

In chapter 11 the disciples ask :  « How can we have a dialog with God ? »  Jesus  answers, but unlike other religious teachings he does not recommend a particular  bodily position for prayer.  He speaks neither of a specific environnement, a harmonious atmosphere, nor of some mystical  ritual.  But he takes great care to show his disciples the content of a conversation with God.  He begins by calling him Father.  The synoptic text in Matthew will even say « Our Father ».  This is a very special way of creating the relationship which one might establish with God : a relationship which is lived within a filial and family framework. The identity of God as a Father takes us far away from the relationships a boss might have with his workers, or from casual conversations.

The Family Spirit

Here we are placed in a family situation, within a family home.

Family life is never simple, as we have known from our youngest years. There is happiness and tension, worries, crises, brothers and sisters we never chose, apathetic or hyperactive teenagers.  There is also a family spirit, which lets us recognize several constants in the behavioral or cultural  traits of a single fraternity. Understanding the paternity of God is still more urgent as the midnight hour is upon us and someone is knocking at the door.  Jesus changes his tone to situate the question within the context of everyday life.  In the midst of his lesson on prayer he inserts the story of of a friend who lets himself be disturbed in the wee hours of the night, trusting his well being to the solidarity of a third friend.

Who among you has a friend ?

Such is the opening of the parable of the three friends .  Do you have a friend who would let you disturb him at midnight ?  In fact, God is hiding and reveals himself in each of the three friends :  He is at the same time the person who knocks on the door, he who opens the door, and even he who offers bread.  This echoes a passage in  Revelation, chapter 3 :  « Here I am !  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. » If God can appear in each of the three friends, it also means than Man can find himself in each of the three situations and that he must  recognize himself as being interdependant upon the others as well as on the Father.  He must  escape from himself and his attitude of fear, of fatigue, he must escape from the darkness which surrounds us and at last dare to show true brotherhood.

The key to the house

Our identity as children of God does not only rest upon our relation with him, but is is linked to our ability to establish relationships with other prople and particularly with those who need our support and respect.  The « Our Father » is not just a simple reciting of verses learnt by heart in Bible School, it is the key to the Father's house :  the key which lets us enter into the family spirit.  A very specific spirit, a household spirit which allows a united, patient and faithful family to thrive.

Corinne Akli
pasteure « réserviste » en Provence