Jan 23rd Sermon Summary: Lord Teach Us To Pray
Technology worked this week and our service is up on YouTube. We had some new visitors and I’m excited about how the Spirit is moving here at First. I remind you that it is rooted in prayer - so set your alarm for 3:01pm or another time that works for you and pray for the church, our community and the world.
Here is the YouTube link for this week: https://youtu.be/IwiVWE5II2E
And because many of you appreciated and I think it’s a good discipline for me (and will be helpful to have in the future) Here is a summary of what I said today.
We have a wonderful prayer from Casa Del Sol to open worship, two beautiful musical renditions of the Lord's Prayer to ponder.
I opened this week’s sermon with a brief recap of last week - we pray “Our Father” - we always pray with others, even when we pray alone - we are with the Spirit, with the universal church, with the great cloud of witnesses and with our loving Abba. A term of relationship - provider, teacher, householder, corrector - yet a figure of love. As we pray for God’s kingdom and will be come and be done here on earth - we recognize that we are called to participate in heaven - that place where God’s will is being done - and that it can happen here. Indeed, that is our task as “ambassadors of Christ, called to a ministry of reconciliation.” That is what the beloved community is about. We fall short - at one point I mentioned that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King noted that the single most segregated hour in American culture is Sunday morning - and that pattern persists. We are not there yet - but God can and will make reconciliation and wholeness possible. Like Jesus, we can be filled with the Spirit’s power. I talked about God’s will - in creation - creating space for all that is to exist at all - and in making us in God’s image. Image is not about physical shape - but creativity, the ability to love, to forgive. This prayer is about seeing the world differently - about seeing the world, and people, as Christ did.
We talked about “daily bread.” I again referenced Manna in the wilderness and noted that the story is a call to Sabbath and disobedience - “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions.” God calls out. Adam Hamilton’s newest book has wonderful and easy to read section on this. Basically the word translated as “daily” is a coined term and we don’t know exactly what it means - it only appears in Greek in the Lord’s Prayer in Luke, Matthew and an early document called the Didache. Linguistically it seems to be made up of “Epi” - which literally means “on” “in” “upon” or “to” and Ousios - “essence.” We see the ousios in the early creeds - when the church said Jesus is “true God from true God, of one essence with the father” so it’s not just bread but “that which we cannot live without” Give us our essence.
Then we turned to a discussion of Sin, debt and trespass. We usually use the later - but Matthew and Luke use sin and debt. How do each of those translations hit us differently? Many of us struggle with love of money but rarely deal with property boundaries. All of us “miss the mark” - and sometimes it’s because we are purposely aiming the other way. All of us give into temptation - sometimes we seek it. What does it mean to ask forgiveness in these different ways - and especially, I shared about a transformative moment for myself - when I realized I was asking God to “forgive me as I forgave others - when one day I was holding a bitter grudge. Uh Oh!
And speaking of forgiveness - what does it mean to participate in systems of injustice - things “we didn’t do” but that we benefit from? Entering into the beloved community takes transformation - not just of ourselves, but collectively. We never pray alone, after all. God, fortunately, seems to be very patient. Finally we thought a bit about temptation - and how many have suggested we read that line with a comma - “Lead Us… “ we pray (comma) - not into temptation because we know very well how to find that ourselves - but deliver us from evil - that is, our own sin and that of others. Bring us into your beloved community that we might, at last, be whole. Reflecting on that we reviewed the “narrow way” of our baptismal vows to renounce and resist evil and to serve Christ as our Lord and savior collectively in the church which is open to all ages, nations and races. And we can do that - because, as Paul writes in our reading from 2nd Corinthians and Isaiah wrote to his time - Now is the day of salvation. God is with us - here and now. Blessings on your journey.