By Marilyn Ehle
The resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. Itâ€™sâ€¦greeting God with a childlike â€œWhatâ€™s next, Papa“Â Romans 8:15 (The Message)
It was the early 1990â€™s. A room full of teachers sat at long wooden tables in a dimly lit, stuffy room. Magazines lay in disorderly piles on the tables along with glue, several pair of scissors, and large sheets of blank white paper. The instructions were simple: cut out pictures illustrating your view of the character of God and paste the pictures onto the paper, forming a collage.
After a few moments of silence, the teachers – accustomed, of course, to totalitarian-induced obedience – began the project and within thirty minutes, several large posters were complete.
Although the project organizers suspected what might be the general direction of the participantsâ€™ choices, they were amazed at the volatility expressed. No cute baby pictures, no frothy clouds, no pastoral scenes. Instead, the formerly blank sheets had overlapping cut outs of atomic explosions, mutilated bodies, storm-ravaged houses, bloody slaughterhouse scenes.
These were people who had not yet heard of the â€œtender mercy of our God“. (Luke 1:78), or â€œthe kindnesses of the Lord” (Psalm 63:7). They didnâ€™t know that God longed to be known as a tender, loving â€œAbba,” or â€œPapa” as Eugene Peterson translates in the word the The Message.
What pictures would you have cut out of the magazines? In Abbaâ€™s Child, Brennan Manning writes that we who are Christians have the same relationship with God as Jesus had. â€œHe invites and calls us to share the same intimate and liberating relationship”.
How magnetic our lives could be if we only reflected to the world Godâ€™s radical and tender love.
I sometimes forget that the all-wise, all-knowing God is also my â€œPapa“, a God who longs for me to develop an intimate relationship. Help me, God, to express my love for you and increasingly feel your love for me.
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