In the gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray the Our Father. In Genesis, Abraham shows us how to haggle with God.
It’s about Sodom and Gomorrah, and, as the story is told, God is planning to wipe the place off the face of the earth because “their sin [is] so grave.” But Abraham appeals to God that the innocent might be swept away with the guilty.
And then, in a routine that could have come right out of vaudeville, he asks: What if there are 50 innocent people there? Shouldn’t you protect them?
Well, OK, God answers, if there are 50, “I will spare the whole place.”
OK, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.”
But what if there are only 40…only 30…only 20…only 10?
Each time, God says, OK, “I will not destroy it.”
The point is that God is a soft touch. God wants us to do the right thing. God wants us to live full lives, to enjoy the riches of creation.
In his preaching, Jesus didn’t talk about leveling cities for their wickedness. He told us to love one another.
And, in teaching us how to pray, he told us to approach God like a loving parent, a parent who wants the best for each child.
The role of a mother or a father is more to nurture than to judge, more to embrace than to reject.
God is the Great Nurturer and the Great Embracer.
God waits for us with open arms. Always.
Patrick T. Reardon