“The Why’s and Wonders of Worship: The Lord’s Prayer”
Matthew 6: 9 – 13
Jill A. Kirchner-Rose, MDIV, DMIN
September 2, 2018
Our Father who art in heaven.
Or Our Mother
Yes, Our Father, Our Mother who art in …wait! Did I hear a voice?
Oh my… God?
You sound surprised.
I didn’t expect you would answer.
You called me, didn’t you?
But, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right. Go on.
Our Father, Our Mother, Our God who art in Heaven.
I am not only in Heaven. I am on Earth too. I am beside you and I live within you. I am the divine spirit of love that is at the core of everything and from which all life flows.
O.K. Our Father, Our Mother, Our God who art in Heaven and on Earth, above us, around us, within us.
Hallowed be thy name.
What do you mean by that exactly?
By “Hallowed be thy name?”
It means, it means…good grief, I don’t know what it means. It’s just a part of the prayer that I say every week. By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
That makes sense. You are honored, holy, wonderful.
“Thy Kingdom come.”
What does that mean to you exactly?
Hmmm… “Thy Kingdom come.” I don’t think that it means the rapture. Does it? Like we are standing around in a cornfield one day and whoop where did Betty go? Destination Heaven.
You Christians have been talking about the rapture, the end times, the apocalypse for the past 2000 years. And it still hasn’t happened. No, the clue to “Thy Kingdom come” is found in the next part of the prayer.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”
Exactly. When Jesus instructed his disciples to pray this prayer, he was not talking about some kind of pie in the sky, bye and bye when you die kind of kingdom. He was speaking about something sound to the ground while you are still around kind of kingdom.
Oh yes! That makes a lot more sense! “Thy Kingdom come. They will be done. On earth as it is in Heaven.”
Let me ask you. What does Heaven look like for you?
Good question. What does Heaven look like? Let me ask the wise people of RUCC? What does Heaven look like? (Inclusivity, unity, perfect love, justice). Yes, and Heaven is a place where every school has enough textbooks for every child and every school computer lab has enough computers that work… and wifi is free.
On this Labor Day Sunday, I think of Heaven as a place where every worker makes a living wage with benefits to support their families.
Heaven is where the basic needs of food, water, shelter, and medicine are distributed to those in need.
Heaven is where no human is illegal.
Heaven is where love is love?
Yes, Heaven is where love is love!
And… let’s not forget Heaven is where black lives matter.
Oh yes. Heaven is where black lives matter. Oh, let it be so. “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in Heaven.”
I think you are getting the picture. Go ahead. Continue.
Give us this day our daily bread. I, especially, like that one. I love bread. All kinds of bread. Wheat bread, sourdough bread, rye bread, warm, flaky croissants topped with butter that melts in my mouth. Heaven is a Hawaiian sweet roll with no calories. Oh, how I love bread!
Yes, I know how you love bread! You probably need to cut down on all of that bread.
Uh, you can tell? (Patting my belly.)
(Laughs). But this is not about how much you love bread. Remember the prayer does not say, “Give me this day my daily bread.” The prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The keyword here is “us.”
“Give us this day our daily bread.” There is a lot of us in this world. That would be like feeding 7.5 billion mouths in this world. Is there enough bread for us all?
There’s actually plenty of bread. Enough to feed 7.5 billion mouths. The problem is that most of it is controlled and eaten by the rich in the world, leaving many of the poor in the world to die of malnutrition.
Which is why we pray “Thy Kingdom. Thy Will be done. On earth as it is in Heaven?”
Yes. Heaven is where food is distributed equally around the globe and everyone has enough to eat. (Pause.) Well, go ahead with the rest of your prayer. I am listening.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Linda?
I knew you were going to bring her up. God, she tells lies about me, she makes up stories, she is downright rude and obnoxious. I can’t stand her.
But, your prayer. What about your prayer? “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
That is definitely the most difficult part of this prayer.
Well, at least you’re honest about it. But, it’s quite a load you are carrying around. All that bitterness and resentment.
You are probably right. There is a lot of bitterness and resentment. (Sighs). I will work on it.
Perhaps the problem is that you are waiting for a feeling that you have forgiven her. Instead of waiting for a feeling, make a decision to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision. Decide today to forgive her.
(Look at watch) This prayer is going on much longer than I expected.
Maybe you need to be spending more time in prayer.
All right. I am making the decision today to forgive her.
Good. I tell you what. You did the best job you can to forgive and I will do the best job I can to forgive. And my best is pretty good!
Yes, thank you for your gift of perfect forgiveness.
You’re welcome. O.K. Continue.
And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Wait. Do you lead us into temptation? What kind of God would lead me into temptation?
I don’t need to lead you into temptation. You do a good enough job of leading yourself into temptation. But actually, this is not a philosophical meditation on the origins of evil and temptation. In essence, you are simply asking me to keep you safe out in the world.
I like that. Yes, keep me safe. Please. And may those forces of evil tremble when they see me coming. Rather than the other way around.
Exactly. And now for the grand finale!
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Let’s show the world how awesome your divine spirit of love truly is.
Let’s do that.
You know, we’ve had quite a chat today.
We certainly have.
Thank you for joining me.
I always do. And I am always here. Why don’t we finish this prayer together? Amen?
(Both together) Amen.
*The concept of “The Lord’s Prayer” being prayed in dialogue between God and individual is not a new concept. I borrowed some of these phrases from others who have preached similar sermons although I tried to make this sermon unique to the theology of Redlands United Church of Christ.