OUR FATHER
IN THE
OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS

(Let me say immediately that these thoughts flow from a male point of view.  I cannot speak to how a woman relates to her father.)

Throughout almost all of my life I had deliberately ignored the conflict that the Old Testament presented to me concerning the Father, like, how could such a loving and compassionate Heavenly Father be so cruel in punishment, demand the death of those who did not agree with Him or the Jews, chose one people (a nation) over another.  After all, He did create all people, He did father them all.  Yet, the language of the Old Testament presented a Father who was very angry and jealous, not one who was loving and compassionate.

Looking at history it would seem that men had adapted the same attitudes that they experienced Him communicating to them.  They too have been angry and revengeful when others did not listen and accept their word, and they did it righteously in the Name of God. They have used the title of being the 'chosen ones' as a right to force others to their way of thinking, in His Name; persecuting them when they did not join, and all this in His Name  They became dogmatic with laws and observances, demanding blind obedience just as He, in His Name.

We do not need to look only to the Old Testament times.  The same righteous feelings exist today.  Our religious wars in the world, and, in a different way, in the United States, with our radical fundamentalists, show us that we are no different than they.  Each side claims to have the absolute truth concerning God, and knows beyond doubt that He has commanded them to destroy the other in some way for not believing and accepting what they know He told them.

Many church leaders and evangelists become very angry, even to the point of condemning to hell and excommunicating people, when they are not listened to and given total obedience, and this is all expressed righteously in the name of the Father or Jesus.

One thing we know today is this: the Father is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He never changes.  If He is compassionate now in the New Testament era, then He must have been compassionate in the Old Testament Era.  Our question is then, what happened that gave Him such a bad name?

That is not an easy question to answer, and what I wish to share here will barely touch the surface, but I believe that it can be the beginning of a new feeling and relationship with the Father.  So, let's look at one aspect, the phrase 'the chosen ones.'

In the New Testament we read that Our Father shouted out to all one day, that Jesus was his beloved son in whom he was well pleased.  To be singled out as a beloved one, a chosen one, could have given Jesus a big head. He could have felt that he was superior to all the rest, looking down on others, and eventually condemning all in different verbal and nonverbal ways for not being like himself.  That did not happen.  He did not see himself as one separate from all.  Being a man of love, he wanted only that which would unite all, namely, love.

But, that does not seem to be, in general, the attitude that mankind would have followed.  Most of us would have assumed that being privileged, we were, then, better than all the rest.  That attitude would have caused separation between us and them, leading to anger, revenge, and desire for control, especially, when others were not so willing to accept our privilege.

This is what seems to me to have happened in the Old Testament.  As a result of such an attitude of being the 'chosen ones,' all that the Father said through the Prophets was interpreted through those dark glasses.  In other words, what He was reported to have said was covered with an incorrect attitude, an attitude of privilege.

I remember well in my own life after having experience the Father, Jesus and Sophia's love for me in wonderful ways that I began to preach this love to others. What disturbed me was the fact that every time I preached about how much They loved us, the words came out shouting, apparently covered with feelings of anger.  I had no idea of what was happening.  Only later in life did I began to understand how much anger was in me for not being listened to, not being heard, not being accepted as the Father's chosen 'privileged' one.

I was preaching a God of love, and at the same time communicating to the people my feelings of anger, hurt and revenge.  What a mixed bag of feelings.  What harm must I have caused in them.  Did they go home and do the same to others, all in the Name of the Father?  Could not the same have happened with all those speaking for Him in his Name?

When love and compassion are not the center of our feelings and attitudes, then anger, revenge, control, manipulation, laws and dogma become the center.  These later things do not unite us. They separate us.  Only love and compassion unite, make us one.  Only with those gifts do we slowly become like unto Them, compassionate as our heavenly Father, able to speak in His Name in a complete and integrated way.

Even these thoughts present a problem.  If the Father had to wait for his prophets/leaders to be healed of all their inner hurts and anger He probably would not have too many available to speak for Him. Obviously, He did not wait, neither in the Old nor New Testament.  But what seems to be clear is that we, who speak for Him, and we, who listen, need to be aware that the personal hurt and anger of the prophet/leader may be enfleshing the Words of the Father.

These thoughts do not solve all the individual aspects of this problem in the Old Testament.  But this I know. We have a loving and compassionate Father, and that He was such in the Old Testament despite what has been expressed.  The more each of us allow Him to dwell within us with these gifts, the more those around us will become loving and compassionate fathers and people.

We pray that Our Father will reveal himself to all his wonderful children in our world.  We pray that He will do it in such a way that the errors that have been handed down to us concerning Him will be rectified, rectified with his Fatherly love.  Our Father, hollowed be thy Name!
 
  Year 2002