Tag Archives: Lord’s Prayer

‘On earth as in heaven’

Reading
Luke 11.1–13

The hinge of the prayer is ‘as in heaven so on earth’ or, if you prefer the usual translation ‘on earth as it is in heaven’. That centrally key phrase insists on mutuality and reciprocity, on an interaction between the heavenly ‘Your’ of God’s name, kingdom, and will and the earthly ‘Our’ of bread, debt, and temptation. — John Dominic Crossan, The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer

The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creations. Not to make people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it really means to be a Christian. — Brendan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

———————-

Luke tells us,

[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’

What is prayer? I remember being told ‘Prayer is talking to God’. Yes it is, but it’s so much more. It’s listening, too. It’s an openness to life. It’s an awareness of injustice. It’s a longing for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. 

In the film Shadowlands, the fictional CS Lewis says:

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me. 

I’m convinced we pray more often than we realise. Let me tell you a story. 

I used to have an atheist friend. We’d have coffee together regularly. My intention was to show him friendship; his stated intention was to hone up his skills for arguing his atheist case. But we had a mutual respect. He had to go into hospital for surgery, and before he did he asked me for this favour: he asked me not to pray for him. 

I was a bit taken aback, but I agreed. I agreed because I wanted to respect my friend’s wishes, and I believed God would care for him without my prayers. 

I learned something about prayer in those days, a bit like ‘CS Lewis’ (actually Anthony Hopkins) saying ‘I pray because I can’t help myself’. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Prayer, RCL, sermon

Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive (28 July, 2013; Ordinary Time 17C)

Reading
Luke 11.1–13

The disciples approach Jesus and say,

Lord, teach us to pray.

So Jesus teaches them the prayer from which we get the Lord’s Prayer, which Catholics call the Our Father. But you know, the Lord’s Prayer is not just a prayer; it is a brief outline of a whole relationship with God our Father. To reflect on the Lord’s Prayer is to learn what it means to be a daughter or son of God, so let’s reflect on just one of those things: God’s children forgive those who sin against them.

A minister of a church tells the story of an elderly lady, over ninety years of age, who hadn’t been to church for seventy-odd years. She was returning, you might say, after an extended absence. The minister was both welcoming and understandably curious.  Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under church year, RCL, sermon

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C: 19 September 2010)

Forgive. What? Why?


Reading
Luke 16.1-13

There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read:

Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.

On the Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

We all need forgiveness.

For three weeks, I want to concentrate on forgiveness. This week, what is forgiveness and why forgive? Next week, on Social Justice Sunday, forgiveness between nations and peoples; and in two weeks’ time, what do we do when it’s too hard to forgive?

Today, we heard the Parable of the Unjust Steward. This parable is not Jesus’ teaching on small business practice. Please don’t write to Nick Sherry, the Minister for Small Business, or to Bruce Billson, shadow minister for small business, asking either one to implement the business principles found in this parable.

This parable isn’t about managing a small business, but it is about what this rather cartoonish figure of a steward does with his master’s abundance. He spreads it around! Specifically, he forgives debts: ‘Quick,’ he says, ‘let’s adjust your debt downwards. A hundred jugs of olive oil? Make it fifty! A hundred containers of wheat? Let’s call it eighty!’

The steward is very generous indeed with his master’s stuff.

This is a parable about forgiving others. In Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says:

…forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone
indebted to us.

This parable says that it’s always a good time to forgive debts. It’s always a good time to forgive people. It’s always a good time to share God’s forgiving love. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under church year, RCL, sermon

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, 25 July 2010

Rooted in Christ


Readings
Colossians 2.6-19
Luke 11.1-13

I remember when I was a first year medical student. It was back when crinoline dresses were all the fashion and horseless carriages had just begun to make an appearance. I was at a meeting of the Christian cell group in our year, and another student spoke of some research he’d come across. It was that most of us in that group, most of us—who were keen enough to spend a lunch hour studying the bible (ok, and looking at the girls…)—most of us would have stopped being part of the life of the church by the time we were thirty. Thirty seemed a long way off at eighteen, but it was a frightening thought nonetheless.

Ironically, the lad who quoted that research had stopped attending church by the time he was thirty.

There may be all sorts of reasons why people drop out of church. Some of them make sense. Congregations can be dysfunctional. I think though that many people leave because they haven’t allowed Paul’s words in Colossians 2.6-7 to dwell deeply in their hearts:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Today I want to look at some of these words, and put alongside them Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Luke 11. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under church year, Prayer, RCL, sermon, spiritual practices