Before Jesus , few thought of God as a father. In the Old Testament, God is referred to as “Father” only ten times. Jesus brought a new paradigm to our relationship with God. Yes, He was still holy and to be venerated, but He was also personal, intimate, “Abba” the Aramaic word for “Daddy.” When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He wanted us to know that we could talk to our Father in heaven just like our dads here on earth.
OK, I know some think that this institutionalized the patriarchal system for all time, but I think there were a myriad of reasons why God would choose a “Father” image, not the least of which was to set a better example for the men of Jesus time as well as today. Men already wielded all the power in most societies and the abuse of that power against women, wives, children, servants – and everyone else of lesser position – is well documented. The Father Jesus spoke of, was gentle and just, loving and kind, strong without violence, and powerful without pain. It is a model we still need today!
“Our Father” – this thought was so radical, so revolutionary; displacing those in positions of power and leveling social constructs forever. This little prayer set the course of history on a new trajectory.