Who Art in Heaven
I have been meditating on the Lord’s prayer lately. Here are some simple insights that might spur your thoughts and prayers: “Our Father, who art in heaven . . .” Where else would God be? Well, the “gods” of that day resided in temples, or on Mount Olympus. In other words, somewhere far away, or some place you had to go to in order to be near that god. But heaven is not some far away place. Heaven is near, as Jesus often pointed out in Matthew 3:2 (and other places) ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ God, our Father, is close at hand, not in some far away temple, not away on some mountain. Reaching out to God in prayer is as easy as talking to someone in the same room, except even closer. “Hallowed be thy name . . .” (Or “honored as holy”) . . . What is the name of God? For Jews, which Jesus was, it was the name told to Moses at the burning bush: YHWH. We have lost the exact pronunciation, but it is something like “Yahweh.” The great I AM. So, in the mind of Jesus, and those who heard him speak this prayer, the name to be honored was Yahweh. “Thy kingdom come . . .” That kingdom, that heaven of God dwelling, Jesus wants that realm to spill over into our world. “Give us this day our daily bread . . .” We should be satisfied with the simplest of needs being met. This may be the hardest of all the prayers to pray, because I certainly want more . . . “Forgive us our ________” Debts? Trespasses? Sins? I find that I like the idea of “trespasses” best. Compared to “sins” a trespass is something tangible, something I easier to get my head around. And compared to a “debt” that somehow can be repaid, I cannot undo a trespass. It can only be forgiven. “Lead us not into temptation . . .” I am still working on this one. I have a hard time understanding the God of Jesus Christ leading me into temptation. So I will leave that one alone. These are just my insights. I pray they might in some small way bring you deeper into prayer, deeper into relationship with our Father, and maybe spur your own insights. Peace, John V.