Since Finnegan was born I have been completely enamored by the fatherhood of God. This is partly to do with the our working with AIDS orphans our first term in South Africa. It was not just a time to see boys and men who had bad fathers but no fathers. And no father figures. Then the juxtaposition of having a son and beginning to learn from infancy everything that my father did for me and everything that I would be lacking in if not for him. All of the idosycracies of the boys at the boarding school were slowing revealed not just a culturally instilled character traits but due rather to “Daddy Depravation”*.
All of that to tell a story. The other night Finn and I were ready his Jesus Storybook Bible and I decided to breach the subject of the crucifixion. We pray every night and thank God that he is “the best Daddy” and that “Jesus died so that we do not have to and that his good Daddy raised him back to life so that we can live.” But I have never conveyed that truth with the picture of a bloodied and beaten Christ hanged up to die with Finn. Now the great thing is that after the crucifixion comes the resurrection so even if it is upsetting there is the immediate joy that comes with, in a child’s vernacular, knowing that Jesus is okay.
But before we got to the resurrection Finn thought it was pretty funny that Jesus was naked(ish) until I told it was because some people took his clothes to which he responded, “thats sad those mean guys took his clothes” and he started to tear up. Then I read on and said that Jesus was dead. It was at this point that I thought my explanation in conduction with the Storybook Bible was going well. But Finn started crying and when I ask him why he stated that “God was a mean and bad Daddy because he let Jesus crash”. (Crashing on his bike is the only from of reference that Finn has for accruing all of the “ouchies” that Jesus had).
It has been almost a week now and I am still reeling from this and there are a dozen applications that from this little story every time I think about it. One of which is how easy it is for people whose lives have not been changed by and for Christ to think that God the Father is either violently abusive or criminally negligent. Then by association how hard it is to explain our loving Father’s need for justice and satiation of wrath because of this Holiness and “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love”** for us.
But even more so just how much I mean to Finnegan. How important a father is. Or in substitution how important a father figure is. Then whatever the case may be the absolute importance of the person introduction the child to the only perfect Daddy, God the Father.
Finn actually thinks that can I keep him from “crashing”. He actually believes I am able to protect him from every bad thing comes our way. As fathers we need to take our cues from our Father. Because he does have the to power to protect us, keep us from crashing, and has exerted that power in Jesus to Save us.
Jesus was resurrected in the next chapter, just in case you do not know how the story goes, and Finnegan was so excited or maybe better stated he was relieved. He could not believe that Jesus died because we still talk about him all the time. I love that this is just the beginning of his understanding of it and he is always anxious to put more pieces together when we talk about it. Also, Jesus got his clothes back.
*”Daddy Deprivation” is a term I have just recently come across in a great new book called Manhood Restored by Eric Mason, a Pastor out of Philadelphia.
**This is the terminology used by Sally Lloyd-Jones in The Jesus Storybook Bible and the more I enter into a childlike faith with Finnegan the more apt I find here descriptions and definitions to be while remaining very faithful to scripture.