Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Lord's Prayer, by Amy Gardine
I must admit it! I struggled with these passages and reflection questions a great deal before writing anything down. On the surface, I felt the main focus this week was to emphasize that all I do must be done in secret: pray in secret; tithe in secret; help the poor in secret; even fast in secret! I was thinking, “What if my stomach growls and I pass out from lack of sustenance? Does that draw too much attention to my pursuits?” I also wondered, “Is it bad that I appreciate a good ‘thank you’ every once in a while?” And I finally asked, “Well, how in the world do we glorify God if all of this is one big secret?” Notice the focus? Yup... all on me.
As scripture would have it, these passages were less concerned with ME and more concerned with the key component of Jesus’ lesson about The Lord’s Prayer and OTHERS. Yes, the Lord’s Prayer actually tells us how to love one another! I think I knew the Lord’s Prayer before I knew my address, but I always thought of it as a monotone prayer that stopped at praising God! When I was young, I was also often confused about all the derivations of the Lord's Prayer! I knew that in different churches we could forgive sins, debts, transgressions, or even trespasses. I knew that some churches paused after temptations. I even knew how to sing the Lord’s Prayer! Like any good piece of literature, The Lord’s Prayer could boast several forms. But only after truly breaking this prayer down can I see its beauty. The loveliness of this prayer is that the message remains the same: Come to God only; love God; and through those steps, we can truly love others.
So, where does that leave MY original discomfort? Well, the study guide asked us to look at each part of the prayer and mull it over. So, to me, I feel that the Lord’s Prayer sort of frees me up to have an open relationship with God - one that gives the most rewarding love back. And this love leads me gracefully into my love for others. It goes something like this:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
I am coming to you first, God. Thanks for listening. I know you are the Maker, but I need to speak directly to The Source.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”
So… what would YOU have me do? What will be a glimpse of heaven to others around me?
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Provide for me what I cannot on my own, because on my own I will probably mess this up. Fill me up with your holy word – strengthen me with your spiritual food.
“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Help me to remember that what I give to others is a symbol of how great Your grace has been to me. Since you have loved me purely and justly, let me also do this for others.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Help me stay this course, God. I just might falter. I will need your support!
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”All I do is for the glory of Your kingdom. A kingdom I share in community. In that knowledge, help me love and serve with my eyes lifted upward, not inward. Let it be so...