Family Ties

“For He is not only a father but by far the best and kindest of all fathers, provided we still cast ourselves upon His mercy, although we are ungrateful, rebellious, and froward children.  And to strengthen our assurance that He is this sort of father to us if we are Christians, He willed that we call Him not only ‘Father’ but explicitly ‘our Father.’  It is as if we addressed Him: ‘O Father, who dost abound with great devotion toward Thy children, and with great readiness to forgive, we Thy children call upon Thee and make our prayer, assured and clearly persuaded that Thou bearest toward us only the affection of a father, although we are unworthy of such a father…

"However, we are not instructed that each of us should individually call Him his Father, but rather that all of us in common should call Him our Father.  From this fact we are warned how great a feeling of brotherly love ought to be among us, since by the same right of mercy and free liberality we are equally children of such a father.  For if one father is common to us all (Matt. 23:9), and every good thing that can fall to our lot comes from Him, there ought not to be anything separate among us that we are not prepared gladly and wholeheartedly to share with one another, as far as the occasion requires.” –John Calvin (commenting on the phrase “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer), Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)

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