For many years, my impression of God Our Father was essentially a literal interpretation of the phrase. I thought of God as a supernatural, male father-like being that created the universe and everything within it. God was the supreme, moral being, a divine ruler and judge. God lived “in heaven” which was up in the sky somewhere far away from me. For a long time, I was perfectly content with this rather limited God of my understanding and saw no need to challenge my thinking.

Then one day my daughter came home from school and asked me what happens to us when we die. I fumbled through a woefully inadequate response and decided I needed to consider more deeply my faith and my understanding of God. Slowly it dawned on me that I was holding on to beliefs I’d never really been convinced of in the first place. With a renewed interest in my own spirituality, I opened myself to new possibilities and began cultivating a deeper, stronger more authentic faith.

As I grow and evolve in my faith, I am developing a far more expansive vision of God, one that includes but stretches beyond Our Father. The word father is one of many metaphors useful in describing the Divine. I believe God, this sacred presence in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), is not far away but right here, around and within us. Above all, I recognize this life-giving and life-sustaining sacred presence we call God as compassionate, full of grace, and abounding in love.

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