Our relationship with God is not something we take lightly. It is the very center of our being. This relationship is holy, to be used for the service of God.
September 5, 2021
Luke 11: 2-4
Pastor Heather McColl
Luke 11: 2-4
He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Holiness Luke 11: 2-4
This Sunday, we are starting a new worship series titled, “The Lord’s Prayer”. This is the prayer which Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. This discussion about prayer comes about because the disciples heard that John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray. My guess is the disciples thought that this one who was thought to be the Messiah would teach them how to pray correctly, to pray the prayer which helps them get this faith thing right. After all, they had seen him do miracles. They had heard him preach. They had seen him challenge the powers that be.
Yet, I do wonder if upon hearing this simple prayer, if the disciples were disappointed. After all this prayer does not contain a magic formula to make everything alright. It does not contain fancy phrases or eloquent words which capture the imagination or stir the heart. It is a simple prayer…six lines in all.
I have to admit, disappointment would have probably been my first reaction. I cannot tell you how many times I have said in prayer, OK God, teach me how to pray so that I can get this faith thing “right”, setting up this dichotomy of turning our faith journey into something it is not, into something which is defined by the successes of this world rather than a process of transformation. I cannot tell you how many times I have said in prayer OK God teach me how to pray so I can get this faith right while ignoring the fact that the very core of our faith actually looks like failure to this world.
When the disciples approach Jesus, asking him to teach them how to prayer, my guess is that they were not expecting Jesus to reframe the conversation, showing them that the only way we get this faith thing “right” is by loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is the reality which this simple prayer frames for us as people of faith.
These six lines which make up the Lord’s Prayer remind us of our relationship with God. They remind us of our connection to one another. These six lines remind us that thankfully God is God and we are not. They remind us that it is not about my wants and needs. Rather getting this faith thing “right” is about us together as part of the Body of Christ, working to bring about healing and wholeness for all of God’s People. These six lines which make up the Lord’s Prayer, remind us that the ways of the world are not the ways of faith, that the way we become the people God created and calls us to be is by picking up our cross and following Jesus.
Our series begins with with “Holiness – Luke 11: 2-4”. Reframing the conversation on how to pray starts with the very first line: “Father, Hallowed be thy name.” I prefer the Message version for how this prayer starts out: So he said, “When you pray, say, Father, Reveal who you are.”
As people of faith, Jesus wants his disciples to know, wants us to know that when we pray this prayer, any time we pray this prayer, we are asking for God to reveal who God is for our God is steadfast, faithful from generation to generation, and loves us more than we could ever imagine. This very first line shows us that the powers of the world rule by greed and might while our God calls us to different way to be, a way of love, a way of grace, a way which sees each other as Beloved Children of God.
With this very first line, Jesus wants his disciples, wants us to know that when we pray this prayer, anytime we pray this prayer, it is a reminder to us that God is God and we are not. That our connection, our relationships as communities of faith is not about us. It is about us reflecting who God is. It is about who we have experienced God to be. When we pray this prayer, any time we pray this prayer, it is a reminder to us, it is a reminder to this world that we know as disciples of Christ who always surrounds us with comfort and peace, and that no matter what, we know that our God will always make a way because that is who God is now and forevermore.
For me, and if I had to make a guess, for all of us, that is the message of hope we need this morning. I have seen the prayer list. I have talked with so many of you. For all of us, there is so much grief and pain right now. We hear the COVID numbers increasing and we feel helpless. We hear the stories of loss from family and friends and we feel overwhelmed. We hear the stories of worry and fear from so many/ All of us are wondering what the next few months will bring. It really does feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders right now.
At this moment, it would be so easy to give up hope. It would be so easy to say that there is no point. It would be so easy to say we cannot go on.
Yet I was reminded again this morning as we said the Lord’s Prayer, as we heard Jan sing the words just a few moments ago, that each and every time we pray this prayer, we are proclaiming that this world will not have the last word, that we know who holds us in the palm of his hand.
As people of faith, there is something humbling and renewing to know that we are invited to pray, to ask God to reveal who God is. There is something humbling and renewing to know that we are called to pray, to ask the God who made the stars in the heavens to reveal who God is so that we will know that we are not alone on this journey. There is something humbling and renewing to know that as people of faith, we are invited to pray, to ask God to reveal God to us so that we will know that we are loved more than we will ever know by the same God who has watched over people of faith since the beginning of time. There is something humbling and renewing to know we are invited, to pray, to ask that God will reveal who God is so we will know, so that this world will know that our God is steadfast, faithful from generation to generation, and that our God will always find a way. May it be so.