Here is this morning’s sermon. I was to have preached it on Wednesday, but time factors caused a schedule change and I preached it today, substituting the Wednesday Gospel for that in the lectionary.
I am calling this sermon “Seeds for meditation”. They are only that, suggestions for further development of each clause in St. Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer.
You will have recognized the Gospel Read today as the shorter version of the Lord’s Prayer from Luke’s Gospel. The longer version of that prayer found in Matthew’s Gospel is probably more familiar to most of us. From very early it won its place for use in liturgical prayer. However, I feel that Luke’s version has an advantage in its brevity for the purpose of meditative prayer. Let the Holy Spirit guide us in our meditation on these five brief phrases!
“Father, hallowed be your name.”
By his repeated examples of referring to God as his Father, Jesus teaches us also to consider God as our Father. God does not need to be reminded that His Name is holy, but we need to be reminded!
“Your kingdom come.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God has already come, and is also yet to come in its fullness. (Lk 17:21) We can realize this, and then look forward to fuller understanding.
“Give us each day our daily bread.”
In these words we ask God for bread as our daily sustenance. In some cultures this may be rice. Remember we are not asking for cake!
“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
I have used “as” here to conform to the contemporary version used in the Book of Common Prayer. I believe it keeps the intended meaning with greater clarity. The word “for” used in this place in the NRSV, seems to me to suggest too easy a forgiveness of others. Forgiving others is not always that easy. We need to be reminded that to forgive something is to “let it go”. We also need to know when we should do that.
“Do not bring us to the time of trial”
There are various ways of asking to be delivered from evil, and to be saved from falling into temptation. One that I like is “Save us in the time of trial”(not from it.) Our faith when it is tested can produce endurance, character, and hope, in turn.
(Cf. James 1:3-4, Rom. 5:3-5)
There are many kinds of meditative prayer; of seeking clearer vision of the way God puts before us. Examples of meditation such as I have given here should help you to have a deeper love of God and continuing spiritual growth.
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