But when the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son, born through a woman, and born under the Law. This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God.- Galatians 4:4-7, CEB
Today is the last day of the CEB blog tour and I had every intention of letting it slip by and post nothing. For several months now I have been in a bit of turmoil and recently it has come to a head - so I had to let somethings, like my blog, sit to the side for the time being until things had calmed down. But, writing is therapeutic for me - it's good for my soul - but I haven't been writing and I've just been giving and giving and I'm drained. I dreaded waking up in the morning - knowing that the day held no relief. Then today happened.
When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So, he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. - Luke 24:28-31, CEB
These past few weeks I have often felt that I have only seen Christ in passing. Similar to these verses that recount the journey on the Road to Emmaus. The disciples feel so lost and alone that they do not see Christ at first. By the time they recognize him he has gone. This was me - especially recently - I've been missing Christ - right when I needed him the most. Being in ministry this next sentence is a hard one to type. I picked up a Bible today for the first time in 3 weeks - and flipped it open - I read Galatians 4:6 and was suddenly reminded of the word Abba.
Abba is Aramaic term of endearment for father probably more akin to Daddy than anything else. Since the word is Aramaic word – you would think one would find it in the Old Testament (as part of the Old Testament is written in Aramaic). But it is not found, at all – the word is too personal. But, Christ uses it as a cry to God:
He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” - Mark 14:36, CEB
In Mark 14 we find Christ at his most vulnerable – he is pleading to his dad to reconsider sending him to the cross. In spite of Christ’s humanity – he still appeals to his daddy – showing a personal relationship even in the midst of their separation. Following the use by Christ, Paul uses it twice in his letters - in the Galatians passage and here:
You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.”- Romans 8:15, CEB
As is usually the case when reading Romans I draw parallels with John Wesley and am often "strangely warmed". Today, I needed to read this; to be reminded. I did not need it as a pastor, but as a son crying out to his father. As I recount these verses - I'm drawn to the closing of a Father's Day sermon - I preached this last year. I finished it like this:
When I was younger I used to think that the job of parents was to teach you how to live life. Now that I have a kid of my own – I wonder if children aren’t placed here to remind the grown-ups how to live. A few weeks back I was sitting at home trying to scratch out how to finish this sermon – and our son comes up to me and puts his hand on my arm and says “Hey Daddy, um I have to tell you a question.” That means that he wants to talk. He says “Daddy – I don’t belong here.” To which I immediately respond “What? Of course you do.” “No Daddy,” he says…. “I belong to my Jesus and you and Mommy do too.” He always always says “my Jesus” he doesn’t just say Jesus – he says MY Jesus. He is my Jesus – he is your Jesus.
Did you know that? I needed to be reminded of that - I'm not alone on this journey - I'm only alone if I choose to be. You aren't alone either...