Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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The Lord’s Prayer

Reading: Luke 11: 1-4

Today’s passage is oh so familiar.  In most every church, in all times of worship, this prayer is prayed.  The words are in the hymnal or bulletin or on the screen, but most really do not need the words.  The Lord’s Prayer is such a familiar prayer.  One must be careful to not simply go through the motions or to recite the prayer.  It must be prayed.

As the prayer begins with “Our father” it establishes our relationship with God.  We are God’s children.  In the role of parent, God seeks to provide for us, to protect us, to help us mature in our faith, to keep us on the path to life.  But most of all, God seeks to love us in a close personal relationship.

“Who art in heaven” reminds us of God’s authority and position.  God is above all and over all.  God dwells in that place of perfection with the saints and angels.  Yet God is not limited to just heaven.  God’s presence is everywhere all of the time.  We sense it in close personal ways at times and in large, powerful ways at other times.  Through the presence of the Holy Spirit we have a deep personal connection to the presence of God in our lives.  The Spirit dwells in each believer and the presence of God is active and alive in the world.

The prayer fittingly ends with requests.  Reflecting on what is established with the opening lines of the prayer, it does seem fitting that the prayer ends with requests of God.  After all, isn’t that what children do with their parent?  It concludes with requests for our daily bread, for forgiveness of our sins, for help forgiving others, and to be kept away from temptation.  The first request acknowledges our dependence on God for all of our daily needs.  Then it turns to relationship.  Forgive us when we mess up.  In this it admits that we will mess up.  It also deals with our need to offer forgiveness.  In these two requests we are asking to be kept in right relationship with God and with our neighbors.  The Lord’s Prayer concludes with our request to be kept from temptation.  This is one of the roles the Holy Spirit plays in our lives.

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, may it be slowly and with attention to detail.  Sit with each phrase, allow it to resonate deep within.  Allow it to bless you this day.

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Each Opportunity

While at the wedding at Cana, Jesus experiences something we all experience – a request to help someone.  In this case Jesus must have known the wedding party as He and the disciples were invited to the party.  As I reflect on who I struggle most with when asked for assistance, it is with the stranger that I most often struggle.  In this story from the book of John, Jesus teaches us both what we are to do and what we are not to do.

The first thing Jesus did was to be open to the needs of others.  When His mother asked, He could have ignored her or dismissed the request.  Much like when the Spirit prompts us, do we pay attention or do we act like we did not hear or feel anything?

The second thing Jesus did was to decide what the greatest need was.  This can be hard to weigh or evaluate correctly.  At times people in need of assistance have a root need that is much deeper than the asked for need.  But we are called to be in relationship with and to walk alongside people in need.  Warning: to be in relationship and to walk alongside another is a much deeper commitment.  But it is only when we do this that we can begin to understand and address these deeper needs.

The third thing Jesus teaches us is something not to do: He did not judge the situation or the person.  This is often where I struggle most.  It is usually in the immediate need requests that I struggle with this the most.  When I have entered into a helping relationship with another, I learn that they are much like me and it is easier not to judge them.  But in the immediate request from a person I encounter on the street who is asking for $5 for food, for example, it is harder to not judge the validity or worthiness of the request.  In God’s view, we are to help if we can, no questions asked.

The last thing Jesus teaches us is to respond and act to the best of our ability.  He didn’t just make wine, He made good wine.  We too are called to be honest, genuine, and fully invested.  Each of our relationships and encounters should receive our best efforts.  Jesus offered no less.

May each opportunity to come alongside another be done with all the love, compassion, and ability that God has placed within us.  Lord, may it begin with me.

Scripture reference: John 2: 1-11