SEPTEMBER 7 Reflection_Father's Day

Creation 1 (September 7 2014)

In God We Live, Move, and Have Our Being

Fathers Day

BIBLE READINGS
Genesis 2:4-14
Psalm 139:1-18
Acts 17:22-31

REFLECTION

One thing that Ive done since I came to this congregation is to sit, on Wednesdays, with the ladies in the craft group (there are no gents unfortunately). Much to my embarrassment, however, even after attending the group for years, each time the ladies start talking about knitting, I still have little to no idea what theyre talking about.

But, even though I have neither the skill nor the knowledge to knit, I can see that each lady has a different way of knitting. Even when everybody follows the same pattern, each person will give her own interpretation and flair to the project. And the final result will always reflect the character of the person who does it.

My experience with the craft ladies reminds me of our reading today from the Psalm.  Here, using the imagery of the knitting world, which Im largely ignorant about, the psalmist said that God knitted us in our mothers womb. God was like one of the craft ladies and we are all like her knitting-project thus we all carry Gods signature in our selves.

But God is not like someone who abandons his own creation after he created it. Our God is not like the God of the 18th century theologians who likened God to a watchmaker who left his watch to its own devices after he created it (or, to use modern parlance, like people who work in Apple who sell their fully-functioning iPods or iPhones or iPads to their costumers after they created them). No, the Hebrews saw the relationship between God and the world more like the relationship between a father and his child. (The Hebrews also saw God as having a motherly, nurturing quality. But, since today is Fathers day, Ill stay with the image of God as our dad.)

A loving father will not abandon his own child. A loving father will always want to be in his childs life no matter what. A loving father would not and could not deny his own child. God too would not and could not deny us because we all are Gods children and we reflect Gods beauty and majesty in our life. God cannot and will not abandon us because we are Gods flesh and blood.

When Robin and Ricky Wright lost their own child, 19-year-old Danielle, they refused to give up hope. Danielle had gone missing after the sailboat she was travelling in with other people disappeared on its way from Australia to New Zealand across the Tasman Sea. After an extensive search, the New Zealand authorities could not find the boat and believed that the boat had sunk after it was battered by a severe storm.

But Robin and Ricky Wright refused to believe the authorities version of event. Eight months after the disappearance of their daughter, they still believed that Danielle and the rest of the boat crew were still alive, adrift somewhere in the ocean, collecting rainwater to drink, singing and telling one another stories. Robin even got a pilots license so that he could do his own search from the air. Altogether, the couple spent $600,000 to find their daughter who had long been declared missing and presumed death by the authorities.[1]

Many of you would probably think of this couple as stubborn, even delusional, people who cannot accept reality. But I see them as normal parents who are desperate to find their own flesh and blood. I believe that they didnt want to give up because they must have thought that it was their responsibility, as parents, to care for their daughter and help her when she was in trouble.

Todays reading from Psalm (139:1 - NIV) opens with the words: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Our God, like the Wrights, will never give up searching for us when we are lost. Our God will always be ready to pay anything to get us back.

It is not a surprise that Jesus called God his Father. I think Jesus would like to remind us of the special relationship and privilege that we have with God. Our God is not a distant being. Our God yearns for intimacy with us, just like a loving father yearns for intimacy with his children.

At times, however, we may feel like the Athenians, calling God the unknown god. But God is not a stranger who is indifferent to our life. God knew us even before we existed. We may not know God, but God knows us and God wants us to know Him as well. Just like what Paul said to the Athenians, God is never far from us because we are His offspring, His beloved children and in Him we have our life.

Most of you would know that my father passed away when I was only six years old (I dont think he was even there with me on my first day in primary school). So I only have scarce memories of him. I cant really remember who he was: what he was like; what his temperament was like. I know many things about him not from my own experience, but from other people who knew him.

But I still remember his face (I have seen many of his photos in our house). And, lately, I started seeing his face each time I look in the mirror. My hair is becoming thinner and thinner, just like his in his middle age, and there is a chance that I may even get semi-bald like he did! What a distressing thought!

But the good thing about becoming more and more like my father is that whenever I have doubt about his love for me, I only need to look at myself in the mirror and I can see his face and feel his love for me. My father may not be here with me any longer, but when I look at myself, I can remember him.

I think its the same with God. Whenever we start feeling that God has forgotten us, or whenever we cannot feel Gods presence in our life, we can always look at ourselves and see the reflection of Gods face on our face. In our Genesis readings, God even shared the most intimate part of His being with us: His own breath. The first man (or Adamah in Hebrew, which means ground)[2] was made from dust, a non-living material. It was only when God imparted Gods own breath into Adam that he was alive. Therefore our very own life; our very own existence and being, is the first and truest sign of Gods presence in our life.

So whenever you are alone in a dark situation; whenever you face death, either the death of someone close to you or someone you love, or even your own death, and you feel that God is not with you, go to the mirror and try to see in your face, the reflection of God who created you; God who gave birth to you; God who loved you.

Remember what the psalmist said: God hems us in behind and before, and God lays His hands upon us (Psalm 139:5). God will not and cannot abandon us because God is our parent, we are Gods children, and in God we indeed live, move, and have our being.

Amen.

[1] An article by AP on http://www.dailymail.co.uk (updated: 04:32 AEST, 19 February 2014)

[2] Genesis 2:7 (footnote [c]) - New International Version on https://www.biblegateway.com.