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
Rooted in Christ
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