Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reviewing The "R" Father: "R" We Thinking About What We Pray?

If you love ... you will perceive the divine mystery in things, and once perceived, you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov
Mark Hart obviously lives his life and faith according to Dostoevsky's insight above. The "R" Father showcases Hart's musings on the Our Father (Lord's Prayer) broken down into 14 segments, all based around a single word beginning with R such as response, revelation, relationship, and reunion. A young husband and father, Hart shares the way that daily living helps remind and reinforce the lessons of the Our Father, as well as opening a more detailed look into theology as a further extension of those musings.

I truly enjoyed this book. Even when I thought that I knew where Hart was headed, he still managed to pull out a few reminders and observations that would stick with me into my own daily life. For instance, the excerpt below is one that came back to me repeatedly in the weeks after I read it and influenced my actions when interacting with other people.
"Who Art"

... the minute we returned home [from a family vacation], I had to head to the airport for a work trip. My three-year-old daughter entered the room as I was pulling out my bag. "Are you leaving, Daddy?" she asked, with tears welling up in her eyes.

I was puzzled at her question, to the point of being almost indignant. Had I not just spent the better portion of five days discussing the intricate ins and outs of various Disney princess story lines? Had I not just packed up every stuffed animal in a six-foot-square radius of our home, transported them across state lines, and followed detailed instructions for their arrangement each night in the hotel bed? Had I not just stopped at every McDonald's restaurant on a ten-hour trip home, one that should have taken less than seven? How could she give me those eyes? What more could she possibly want from me? Was she so blind not to see that Daddy now had to leave and actually make money to pay for the vacation we had just enjoyed? Was she just blind to life's realities?

No, she wasn't. Like Bartimaeus before me, I was the blind one (Mark 10:46).

She had enjoyed my constant and consistent fatherly presence in the previous five days. With the idea of her daddy leaving now, there was a deep void, a true emptiness. ...

... while "who art" reminds us of God's constant presence, it also reveals his constant response to his children--to our wants, our needs, and our hearts. God is a Father who is always watching, not as a disciplinarian waiting for any misstep, but as the proud father at every sporting event, the front row with video camera in hand, refusing to miss a moment of his child's precious life. In our childishness we often want our Father present only when it suits us. How often we desire a Father to respond to our needs without desiring his response to our daily life. We want the loan when things are bad, but don't make the phone call when things are good. ...

God, our Father, is love (1 John 4:8). We teach it. We proclaim it. Do we believe it? How often do we really stop to ponder all that those three words contain? Nothing on earth proclaims love the way being present to someone does. My vacation experience drove home this fact to me: Love is spelled t-i-m-e.
The reflection continues into deeper issues related to this which were also influential on me during that same time period. Definitely recommended.

You can read another excerpt at The Word Among Us website. The book I read was a review copy from The Word Among Us.

No comments: