Sunday, July 25, 2010
Living the Lord's Prayer
Much has been said about the authenticity of this prayer - whether Jesus really prayed it. Indeed, it is such a controversial topic with such convincing arguments that I can no longer say the words of preface in the BCP Eucharistic Prayer, "And now, as our Savior Jesus Christ has taught us, we are bold to say . . ."
What I can say, with integrity is, "In the Spirit of the teachings of Jesus, we are bold to say . . ."
I've been using this introduction for about four years now. No one has even raised an eyebrow, much less a question or objection. I think everyone "gets it."
The real point of the Lord's Prayer, at least as I have heard it, is not the words themselves, but what the words call us to do and be.
It acknowledges God's holiness and the work of bringing about God's Realm.
It asks for nothing more than what we really need: "our daily bread."
The heart of the prayer, for me, is about being forgiven and forgiving others. I don't know anything else that captures the heart of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus than forgiveness and reconciliation.
I really don't care whether or not you use 'your' or 'thy/thine'.
'Trespasses' or 'sins'
'Temptation' or 'time of trial'.
I care about what you do about all those words.
What difference do they make in your life?
How do you live them out?
How do they inform or inspire your faith?
Your relationship with God and Jesus and others?
If you want to understand a bit of what that looks like, I encourage you to read this essay over at 'Stone of Witness'.
The Rev'd Lauren Gough has recently retired to her "home diocese" of Ft. Worth, TX. This week, instead of preaching, she's visiting yet another of the churches in the 'remaining diocese' of Ft. Worth.
I don't think I've heard a better description of what it means to live out the Lord's Prayer.
You'll get yet another image over at "Leave it Lay Where Jesus Flang It." Margaret's husband, Joel, is in the ICU in guarded condition. She's got a very modern, cultural, musical version of this prayer.
G'wan over there and pray with her. She needs it.
One more request: Sometime today, just sit with this prayer. Read it, say it in your own language, in whatever version pleases you.
As you sit with it, try to take it in. Breathe in the words and the intent. Let it metabolize in your body. Follow the ancient practice of letting your body find a posture that expresses the words.
It may not be exactly as Jesus spoke the words. That's not what's important.
The important thing is that you live these words "in the spirit of the teaching of Jesus."
Today. Every day.
So that, the Realm of God will come, the will of God be done, on earth as it is in heaven."