Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY
The craziest thing happened to me while I was washing dishes the other day. I was standing at the sink and my daughter Molly was playing at my feet. At one point she needed my attention (likely trying to show me her latest boo-boo or craft or telling on her sister for something) so she began pulling on my pant leg calling, “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy.” When I didn’t respond immediately she shouted, “Scott Daniel Hannon!”
That got my attention.
You don’t really realize the power of names until your daughter calls you by yours. And here’s the thing… Yes, it was kind of cute in the moment (not to mention, I’ve been called a lot worse), but truth be told, I don’t want to be “Scott” to Molly. Not now. Not ever. I don’t even want to be “Father.” I just want to be “Daddy.”
In scripture when Moses asks God what his name is God says, “I am who I am.” Later, God tells his people that his name is holy and should not be taken in vain. The Israelites so revered God’s name that they didn’t even attempt to say it. Instead, they simply said, “The Lord.” In the New Testament, Jesus takes our title for God and makes it personal. When teaching his disciples to pray he says: “This then is how you should pray: Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9)
What we call God is more than just a word. It is a title which announces a connection. When God says, “Call me Dad,” he is inviting us into a relationship- a relationship of intimacy, closeness, compassion and most of all, love. Our God is not a distant deity. Rather, like a daughter pulling the pant leg of her father at the sink, so too do we approach our maker. And unlike the earthly father who on occasion tunes out the call of “daddy, daddy, daddy,” our God never ceases to listen to his children when they pray.
As we approach Father’s Day this June, may this proclamation bring you joy and comfort: The Lord of the universe who created you and loves you does not want to be “Mr. God” to you. Rather, as God’s child, you are invited into a close, connected relationship with God reflected through the name in which we are bold to pray… Our Father…
Let us pray.
Dear Father, thank you for naming us and claiming us as your children. Teach us to love and honor you at all times, and in all instances to treasure your holy name. We give you thanks for our fathers and grandfathers, as well as all men who show paternal love to your children, give them all continued strength and wisdom. Help us to show our love for them and for you. Amen.
In the Way,
Scott AKA Dad AKA Hey You AKA Pastor AKA Sinner AKA Saint AKA God’s Grownup Kid
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.