My infant son hasn’t learned to speak yet, but he has just started holding out his arms, hoping his mom or dad will pick him up. When I pick him up, he often flashes a big, toothless grin at me and settles into the crook of my arm. He knows what my arms feel like and feels safe in them. He knows that when he reaches out, one of his parents will pick him up and hold him. Yet, soon he will begin to be interested in venturing out on his own. Eventually, the idea of being held in his parents’ arms might seem embarrassing.
Crying out, “Abba! Father!” might seem a bit silly to us. Abba is the equivalent of “Daddy.” We are used to much more formal ways of addressing God. We might imagine ourselves as co-workers with God, or guests at God’s banquet table, or students in God’s lecture hall. But perhaps we are more like infants, arms outstretched, waiting to settle into the familiar and safe arms of God.
Abba, hold us in your safe and loving arms. Amen. — EP