Guest post by Awaken-ian Dave King
I shared reflections on the Lord’s Prayer at Awaken‘s (virtual) service today. There have been many sermons on the Lord’s Prayer – but most of the ones I’ve heard take the prayer apart, treating each part as standalone. That makes sense as you can dive deep on each line, and almost every word of the prayer. This reflection takes the approach that the Lord’s Prayer is one prayer, that each line speaks to the others.
Our Father in heaven,
- Relational: the Father and us as children of God,
Our Father – Jesus taught them to pray together.
hallowed be your name
- Hallowed to be given honor to be raised up over all names. How do we do that?
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
- That is how we hallow the name of the father, by seeking the kingdom here and now – just as Hail Caesar has definite political implications.
- What does the Kingdom look like? We are invited to address the King, the Hallowed one as Father… making us part of the royal family. A Kingdom where we have a stake in the kingdom, an inheritance if you will. Not a Kingdom of the disenfranchised.
- What if the will of the Father, the Kingdom looks like the rest of the prayer?
Give us this day our daily bread
- We acknowledge the our daily needs are met by the father, not by Caesar, not by our economic systems
- In an agrarian society bread was the basis of the economy, of life, they tried to make Jesus King after he fed the 5000, bread here is a symbol of abundance.
and forgive us our debts
- We acknowledge that we have been involved in that which is counter to the will of God, we’ve been disloyal to the Kingdom
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
- Asking for Grace for ourselves we are called to extend that grace to others
- Having acknowledged that we get what we need from the father frees us to release those who ‘owe us’.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
- I’ve been told the ‘lead us not bit’ is a bad translation – I’ll leave that to those who are more qualified – but I read it as having acknowledged our unfaithfulness, our need of grace that we desire to grow in the kingdom and in God’s will. To be delivered from the evil we have been part of a delivered to a Kingdom of Grace.
The Lord’s Prayer is a daily prayer, “Give us our daily bread.” So honouring our father in heaven, seeking the Kingdom, being forgiven and forgiving is something Jesus thinks we’ll need to do daily – so our need to be forgiven daily, that we fail daily is not news to Jesus, it has already been accounted for – and still we are invited to pray Our Father…
I’m wondering if part of the daily-ness is that forgiveness is a process, it’s not something that I can do in one leap, oh you’re forgiven, it’s something I have to work at, and maybe that’s ok? Maybe I realize my shortcoming of forgiveness today, seek forgiveness for that today, and seek to be delivered from my unforgiveness today, give thanks for that progress and repeat tomorrow?
What does it mean to ask for our daily bread, not just my daily bread? I’m thinking of the little free pantry, and the community garden would be part of that.
What does it mean to pray about forgiveness as a group, to admit our need for forgiveness and to forgive those who owe us. Not just my debts, and debtors but our debts and debtors, our sins and those who have sinned against us. Honestly I’m not sure what that looks like, but I can’t escape that it’s there.
To sum up:
Our daily focus is this: We honour the father by seeking the kingdom. We seek the kingdom by admitting our dependence on the Father’s grace, sharing that grace with others and asking to be delivered from the evil that we have been part of.