Amazing morning at @passion268. During the first song Stetson came and tapped my arm and said “I don’t know where to sit!”. I didn’t really know what to say. I was a little busy. I never really thought he’d walk on stage while we were playing. Of course I didn’t tell him NOT to come on stage. (This is his first trip with just him and me. we are figuring it out.) So I just knelt down and patted at a spot right by my pedalboard and said “sit here, buddy”. And he sat down, totally fine and secure. Casual even. It probably wasn’t the best time for him to come on stage. But I’m his Dad and he needed me. He knew I’d know what to do and would find him a place to sit. Never a dull moment. Happy birthday to me.
The image above is incredibly powerful isn’t it? 50,000 young people at Passion Conference in Atlanta watched as a little boy walked on stage and sat at his daddy’s feet whilst he led worship. An unscheduled, unprompted moment that, amongst world renowned speakers and musicians (Hillsong United, Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin and Francis Chan are all there), gave the clearest picture of the relationship with God that we are all offered.
I love the description that James Duke gives for how his son behaved. “Totally fine and secure. Casual even.” Isn’t that wonderful? The son knew his natural place was right where his dad was, no matter what his dad was doing… even when his Dad was playing guitar at one of the biggest Christian student conferences in the USA.
My heart leapt when I saw this picture because it’s exactly how I believe God the Father wants me to view him. Earthly fathers are meant to give us a picture of what God is like and, although there’s never been a perfect example, this moment comes pretty close.
So often, the whisper in my ear is that God is annoyed or indifferent or wants me to apologise for a week’s worth of sinful mess before we can move beyond a judge-convict relationship and yet, somewhere in the midst of the lies, there’s a clear, fatherly voice that invites me to come and sit. That offers me grace and mercy and peace. That reminds me that Mary chose rightly when she sat at Jesus’ feet and that that choice is still the right choice.
“See what kind of love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God and that is what we are” (1 John 3:1). John, the beloved apostle, the one that Jesus loved, understood. He knew that at the centre of Christianity is not an angry judge or an indifferent being but a loving Father. A good Father. A Father who wants his sons and daughters, even as he rules to the universe, to walk up to him and sit down at his feet, as if it was the place they always belonged. “Totally fine and secure. Casual even.”