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Fatherhood and Framework

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. (Luke 11:1-8)

My boy is five months old now. So naturally, almost anything I say or do or think is colored by the light, the brand new perspective, the earth-changing worldview shift that comes along with being a new father. I realize that not everyone is a parent and that many will never be parents, and that that’s OK, because you don’t have to be a parent to be a whole human being. God made you and wants to remake you whole just as you are; single or married, parent or not. So don’t let the idea of being a parent be some kind of weird “insider” info for those of us who are.

That tidbit aside, perhaps you can imagine the worldview change I’m talking about. So many things in my day-to-day life are now permeated with a new identity, a new vocation in life, so much so that it comes with a name: father. When I think about politics, what passes for news, and other world concerns, I think more and more about the hard world that I will be bringing my son up in. I have a cold that I’m desperately trying to kill right now, not because I just can’t endure the snot fest, but because I can’t bear to watch my little boy helplessly fight a stuffy nose. Baby pictures never used to mean much to me. But when my wife posts some new pictures throughout the day, or texts me a little nugget of smiles and giggles, my heart rends; I live for that stuff now.

There is almost nothing in my world that hasn’t been re-imagined, or isn’t in the process of being re-imagined through the lens of being a father. I wear dad-colored glasses.

Which brings me to the Scripture. If you’ve been reading along in Lent For Everyone you’ll notice this is the passage from last Wednesday. Our guide, N.T. Wright says that the Jesus’ prayer that he is teaching us here demands that we place our primary attention on God. He also notes that the three simple concerns that this prayer asks for (Food, Forgiveness, and Safety) are placed within a framework of that Kingdom. About the curious story that Jesus uses to expound on his prayer N.T. says “Once God's name and Kingdom are the framework of all we do and think, we are free to knock on his door as late at night as we want.” Life is lived inside and under the name, the rule and reign, the Kingdom of God.

How many of us let God’s Kingdom, God’s name be the framework for all we do and think? How many of us wear Kingdom colored glasses? How many of us are willing to take on a new identity and a new vocation that finds its worth and world in the practice and presence of the Kingdom of God. How many of us are willing to be called by a new name… Christian. Being a father colors everything I do and think. But even my identity as a father I live placed inside the name and Kingdom of God.

What areas of your life, your work, your family, your spare time, your habits, something that you do, have you let exist outside the framework of God’s Kingdom? Lent is a great time to ask that question, and to bring those stray pieces into their rightful place. Lent is a great time to work on wearing Kingdom colored glasses.

Noah can be reached via email here.

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