Monday, June 28, 2021

The Lord's Prayer

 



God's amazing and abundant grace be with all of you! I will be on vacation starting tomorrow. I still wanted to share a few thoughts about the Lord's Prayer. First, please remember my invitation to get out a pencil/pen/crayon & piece of paper to write the Lord's Prayer by hand. I believe that by writing these words, we begin to embody them. I invite you to write prayerfully, taking many times to pause on each word. I pray you will find ways to live the Lord's Prayer.

I have also crated a pdf on the New Zealand Version of the Lord's Prayer. Copy the URL below and paste in your browser to access this (it is on the front page of our website too!)

https://uccsarasota.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Week-of-June-27-Lords-Prayer.pdf


Friday, June 25, 2021

The Lord's Prayer


 

Today, I want to share a video of praying the Lord’s Prayer using American Sign Language.  I invite you to watch this several times and try to learn ways to embody the Lord’s Prayer letting your hands get caught up in the holiness of these words, bringing the words to life.  Part of what I find so powerful about this way of praying the Lord's Prayer is it invites us to embody these words ~ inhabit these words ~ the words start to become more than syllables that fall from our lips.  Pay attention to the motions and movements and ways your body brings to life this prayer.  There are many, many versions of the Lord's Prayer in Sign Language and I encourage you to not just watch but learn a way to bring this prayer to life with your whole being.   May this way of praying the Lord's Prayer awaken you to new insights and remind you that your whole self (from the top of your head to your pinkie toe) is created in God's image.  Amen. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Lord's Prayer


 

Today I want to offer the melody and musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer we are most familiar with at our church using violin and piano. 

Click above to listen and feel free to sing along!  As the melody of your voice reverberates around you and within you, I wonder:  

What did you feel singing the Lord's Prayer?  

How is would you describe what happens in your heart, soul, body, and mind?  

How is singing the Lord's Prayer different than speaking?  

You may want to say the Lord's Prayer paying attention to what is stirring in your soul.  

Pause.  

Then, sing the Lord's Prayer again noticing and naming what is happening.  

Compare the two experiences.  Not to decide which is better, but to be thankful for the variety of ways the words of this prayer can fall from your lips.  

As always, feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section.  May God's blessing stir and surround you as we explore the variety of musical ways to pray this prayer.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Lord's Prayer

 



Today, I want to share one of my favorite versions of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili.  I especially love this video.  This version brings a smile to my face.  I am curious to know what you experience, what stirs in your heart as you listen and watch and encounter this video?  Please post your thoughts in the comment section so that we might continue our conversation on the Lord’s Prayer today.

Enjoy!!


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Lord's Prayer


 

Today, we will tune our ears and hearts to another early version of the Lord’s Prayer by Robert Stone.  Click above to listen.

Robert Stone wrote this piece around 1550.  I love that this version has been around for hundreds of years, sung by thousands of voices.  It reminds me of the words above a cathedral door proclaiming, "You are entering a song that began centuries before you were born and will continue for centuries to after you are gone."  The melody of our life is woven into the great symphony God is composing and conducting.  The notes of our life are brought together and blended with the notes of others.  Part of the power of singing the Lord's Prayer is two-fold:

First, there is a reverberation that comes from deep within our soul.  

Second, that note finds a connection with those around us.  

The deep within find harmony with the deep from another living, breathing soul.

Perhaps what is so powerful about the times we sing the Lord’s Prayer in our sanctuary is that it feels like the words reverberate the saints who have sung the words before us.  It is as if the woodwork and bricks are calling out, echoing, and joining with us.  On Sunday, I felt the woodwork join in with us and stir my soul as we sang.  

Go ahead and listen again...join in the melody of this version that is over five hundred years old.  

May you feel like Moses on Holy Ground as you do.


Monday, June 21, 2021

The Lord's Prayer


 

There is something profoundly powerful about singing the Lord’s Prayer.  Even those of us who feel like we can’t hold a tune in a bucket, still feel our souls surge the second we hear someone start singing the Lord’s Prayer.  Every fiber of our being joins in the melody and enters the music.  I wonder, what is different when you sing the Lord’s Prayer?  How does adding music to the word open new insights for you? 

This week I want to share several musical settings of the Lord’s Prayer.  The first is Gregorian Chant which dates to the 9th Century.  I invite you to listen several times to this version.  You may want to have a blank piece of paper available to draw or sketch or write down what hearing the Lord’s Prayer this way stirs within you. 

I pray that this version of the Lord’s Prayer opens you to a new experience and stirs your spirit.  Feel free to share with others in the comment section so we can remember that we are praying these words together, connected by the Creator in this holy experience and experiment this month.

Prayer: God open my ears and heart to hear this prayer anew today.  Amen.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Lord's Prayer

 


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

This week we have sought to dive deeply into the words of the Lord’s Prayer.  To bring them close to our hearts, let the words settle into our souls, and sing to our lives.  To explore what is stirred within us.

“Wait,” you might say, “You skipped over that part about forgiveness.”  

Very perceptive!  And now would be the opportunity for me to invite you to worship this Sunday at 9 am and 11 am when I will share some thoughts on this important petition in the Lord’s Prayer.  

Thanks for helping me plug worship, by the way!

Today, I invite you back to the exercise that started the week.  Go through the prayer intentionally and slowly circling words that you still struggle to wrap your mind/heart/soul around.  Place a rectangle around words that are healing or helpful or feel holy.  

Keep praying with me at noon, keep talking to others, keep letting the Lord’s Prayer ground and guide you in these days.

Prayer:  Open my creativity and my connection to You, O God, author/composure/conductor of my life.  Amen.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Lord's Prayer

 


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

 

I also feel like the words, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” should come with an ominous soundtrack.  Like what we hear in the movie, Jaws.  It can make me feel like I have to be on alert and always aware.  Like out of nowhere some temptation will leap out and say, “I have you now, my pretty.”  Insert nefarious laugh here.  In some ways, that is true.  For example, when I hear the “ding” of an email arriving or text on my phone, it can be so tempting to think, “I gotta respond quickly.  It could be a matter of National Security!!”  Or it could be someone wanting to sell me some new windows.  Temptations can involve food, shopping, cynicism, anger that hurts/harms others.  What connects all of this is that a temptation pulls you from being the “you” made in god’s image.

 

Another way to translate the word, “temptation” is “trial”.  That puts a different spin on the word.  Trials are about those difficult and painful moments during every day.  Trials can when someone challenges me or objects to what I said. Trial can be physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual.  What trials are being held in your life right now?  Do you feel like you are the judge, jury, defendant or prosecutor?  There may be many trials going on right now in your life and in each one you are playing one of those roles.

 

Push pause, does changing this word provoke or evoke anything new for you? 

 

Then, there is the word, “evil”, which causes me to picture of Voldemort from Harry Potter.  Some translations of the Lord’s Prayer even have the words, “Evil One”, where the hurt or harm we cause as humans is personified.  There is such brokenness around us that cuts like sharp shards of glass.  I think of racism, homophobia, sexism, and laws being passed right now that deny people rights.  I think of words spoken to score points and continue to profit from broken systems.  I think of people denied houses or jobs and who are not seen as created in God’s image.  I think of people who have hate in their heart. 

 

I know these words have weight to them.  I know these words create worlds where I would rather not confront or feel so challenged by the reality.  I also know that wisdom that “Prayer is a long loving look at the real.”  This means that in prayer I lovingly look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.  In the Lord’s Prayer we affirm and acknowledge that we do not face the temptations/trials or evil alone.  God is with us with a love that will never let us go.

 

Prayer: God help me recognize and realize that in times of trouble, You are present helping me take the next right step and showing me ways to confront the evil in this world You so love.  Amen.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Lord's Prayer


 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

 

Another set of words I hold close to my heart are, “daily bread”.  As I have said the Lord’s Prayer over my lunch, “daily bread” becomes tactile and tangible.  But I realize that these two words don’t have to be so literal.  Daily bread is about shelter and security; it is about relationships that fill me with life; it is about ways that I am strengthened and sustained in mind, body, heart, and soul.

 

How is God nurturing and nourishing you right now?  I don’t mean this rhetorically.  Speak aloud some responses and reactions to your screen. 

How is God feeding and fueling you physically?

How is God supporting you emotionally?

How is God filling you intellectually?

How is God caring and loving you spiritually?

 

I think about my daily walks around the block as times of both physical exercise and spiritual renewal.

 

Or I think about my wife’s hugs as holy emotional care that wraps around me.

 

Or a good book I am reading is awakening new insights intellectually and spiritually.

 

Go back through those questions to ponder prayerfully bigger and bolder “daily bread” that gives us life.

 

Prayer:  Manna-providing God, continue to help me name and notice the ways You show up disguised as my own, ordinary, life.  Amen.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

How did writing the Lord’s Prayer, savoring each word you said, go yesterday?  Did you circle many words or only a few?  Did you put one bring rectangle around all sixty-five words?

For me, three words that leap off the page and land in my lap are: hallowed, kingdom, and will.

Hallowed is a fancy way of saying, “Holy”, which is another way of saying, “Set apart.”  When something is holy there is a specialness and sacredness to it.  Growing up, when something was  special, it meant that my parents put it out of reach or behind locked glass doors so my brother and I would, “Look with our eyes and not with our hands.” 

Unfortunately, we have been taught or caught this idea that if it is special/sacred/set apart we need a reason in order to enjoy it.  We have that bottle of wine for a “special occasion,” rather than popping it open on an ordinary Tuesday.  Or plates that can only be used when guests come or food that is served only for company.  This is NOT the understanding of Holy I want to promote.  I pray your understanding of holy would that you regularly eat off your wedding China and break out the glass crystal, because you realize every day is holy.  I know people who say that if you do something too much, it can drain the specialness out of it.  To quote my grandmother, “Hogwash!”  I say, “I love you” to my family every chance I get and those words never fail to convey the care I have.  I can never have communion too much or say the Lord’s Prayer too many times, the sacred will never be exhausted in these holy moments.

Kingdom is another word that I put both a circle and rectangle around (you didn’t realize you could that, did you?  Well, permission granted!).  This word recalls King Arthur, Monty Python, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, castles, knights, fairy tales, and a time of old.  Kingdom might bring to mind for you times of oppression when power was in the hands of a very few who forced people to do thing.  In Exodus, we hear how Israel was in the kingdom of Egypt and Pharoah forced them to make brick after brick – it was never enough.  So some people instead substitute in a word, “Kin-dom”.  Kin – as in family.  Dom – land.  Kin-dom is a land where we are all family, connected.  Others might suggest “realm,” as in the space where we are continually caught up in God’s presence. 

The third word is “will”.  There have been many sermons preached about God’s will, pastors claiming to know what God wants you to do, which sometimes involves you opening your wallet.  Yet, God is beyond our comprehension and control.  God doesn’t fit in our boxes. So, how do we know God’s will?  We don’t.  We have our prayerful guesses and hopeful intentions.  I wonder if you substituted the word, “Creativity,” what might break open for you?  As in, “Let thy creativity be what our lives are caught up in”.  Or “work,” as in, “Let us toil wherever God toils.  Let us roll up our sleeves to labor with God.”  Or what about “dream” and “prayer”?  As in, “Thy dream and prayer be known in our hearts as in God’s heart?”

Play with words, see what worlds they create for you this day.

Prayer:  Creating God open the thesaurus of our imaginations so our lives are caught up in You.  Amen.


Monday, June 14, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Please pray with me...


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Yesterday in church we explored how words create worlds.  We named that words have weight to them.  Some words can make our souls soar, while other words land with a thud that cause our hearts to break and soul to ache. 

There are sixty-five words in the Lord’s Prayer that fall from our lips every Sunday.  Not all the words can cause the same reaction or response.  For example, when I read the above words, I am fairly neutral on the word, “Thy”. In some ways, that one word transports and takes me back to High School English class reading Shakespeare and helps me feel like I am speaking the Queen’s English.  Suddenly, I feel like I should have a cup of tea and refer to cookies as “biscuits”.

There are other words in the prayer above that can provoke and evoke a deeper response.  My invitation today is for you to pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly and openly, prayerfully pondering how each word lands within you.  Hold each word, bring it close, breathe the word in, let it sit for a few seconds as you intentionally ask yourself, “Does this word cause my heart to warm or my mind to say, “Objection” or barely leave a trace?"

Perhaps you could get a piece of paper, write the Lord’s Prayer.  There is something powerful about the act of writing words with a pen and paper.  The action slows us down so you can focus your attention and intention on each word.  Put a circle around words that are heavy and rectangle around the words where you soul sings, “Amen.”  Realize that what might have a circle today could be tomorrow’s rectangle and by Friday have no impact or influence whatsoever.  Or maybe a word has a circle AND a rectangle – I would love to talk to you about that.

As we pray the words of the Lord’s Prayer this week, I hope we will do so intentionally and with our full attention on how these words are working in our lives. 

Prayer: God, You craft and create with a word.  Let the words of the Lord’s Prayer this week awaken something within my soul and turn me toward Your presence in my life.


Friday, June 11, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Our hymnal opens with thirty-nine hymns labeled, “God”.  We have covered six this week.  So, deep breath, let’s look at the other thirty-three now.

Just kidding.

Today, I want you to choose the hymn that speaks to you.  You could randomly flip through the pages until you land on a hymn.  You could start with 1, because all week you were wondering, “Why is Wes jumping around so much?!”  You could look at other hymnals.  You could be radical and see what happens when you venture in to hymns beyond the first thirty-nine, because hymn number 345 might just have something to say about the Divine even though it doesn’t have the word, “God” in the upper corner.

Explore.

Experience.

Encounter the elasticity and evolving embrace of the Eternal in the words of our hymnal letting what you read or sing here move how you pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: God of rainbows and fiery pillars, God who soars where eagles fly, we your people and with You we journey, help shape us and call us to expand our relationship with You and each other in these days. Amen.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Since yesterday was so much fun, let’s do another two hymns.

I heard you say, “Ugh!” all the way here.

Actually, it is two different settings for the same words, but it was fun to get that strong of a reaction from you.  Just wait until next week when the morning meditations are going to talk about the structure of the Lord’s Prayer…I already know my “views” and “shares” will be down.

Guide me, O My Great Redeemer is numbers 18 and 19 in the New Century Hymnal.

The first verse I draw us near to hear today:

Guide me, O my great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but you are mighty; hold me with your powerful hand.  Bread of heaven, bread of heaven feed me till I want no more, feed me till I want no more.

First, the image of God as the One who renews, restores, and redeems our life is powerful.  God as redeemer means that I can’t save myself.  Many of my self-improvement projects don’t always turn out so great.  What saves my life is God’s presence and peace.  Yet, the hymn points out, this doesn’t mean life is all chocolate rivers and pony rides.  God redeems us even as we reside in a barren land.  Push pause on that.  Double click on that point.  God redeems us even in the midst of a pandemic and polarization and pain.  God redeems us not because we earned this grace but because grace is who God is.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer today, how might these truths be an undercurrent that stirs our souls?    

Continue to hold these words of this hymn today.  Read slowly, savoring the other two verses.  Let this prayer practice of the hymnal in one hand and the Lord’s Prayer on the tips of our tongues continue to shape the ways we discover the Divine dancing in our midst today.

Prayer: Redeeming God at work in all our lives, continue to open our hearts and clear away the clutter of our ears so that we might find ways to connect with You and each other this day.  Amen.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Today I draw our attention to two different hymns.  First is Glory, Glory Hallelujah which has this great verse:

I feel better, so much better, since I laid my burdens down.  I feel better, so much better, since I laid my burdens down.

You may think, wait that doesn’t mention God at all?  What does this have to do with our imaging God? But there is this sacred, subtle sense that God is the burden bearer and breaker.  God is the One we can surrender all the stress and strain and struggle to life.  Of course, I usually only loan my burdens to God and then quickly want to take them back.  Like when my wife hands me her purse to hold for a few moments.  Often I am like, “Thanks God for holding that hurt, but I got this now.”  After all, I don’t want to be a burden to God…God has enough without me.  But the is exactly the kind of perspective this Spiritual is trying to confront.  You don’t just ask God to hold your burdens for a while, you surrender them fully.  You release your clinging and controlling and need to look competent. 

What if you prayed, “Our Burden-Bearer and Breaker, holy is Your name” today?  What if you tried to both say and live those words today?

The other hymn is right next door in our New Century Hymnal, “Many and Great, O God, Are Your Works”.  The first verse of this hymn is profound and powerful as Glory, Glory Hallelujah.  Say these words aloud to yourself,

“Many and great, O God, are Your works, Maker of earth and sky; Your hands have set the heavens with stars, Your fingers spread the mountains and plains.  Lo, at your word the waters were formed; deep seas obey your voice.”

I love how the hymn writer prayerfully leads us from the vast galaxies above our heads to the places our feet touch the ground.  The images I hear in these words are God our Creator; God our Artistic Director; God our Companion; God whose singing voice stirs our souls.  What do you hear or experience?  How might these two hymns influence and impact the way you pray the Lord’s Prayer today?

Continue to let the words of our hymns shape the ways we pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: Thank you, O God, for powerful and poetic words of hymns that can open our hearts and whole lives to new understandings of Jesus’ Prayer.  Amen.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 



Today, we turn to the hymn, Praise to the Living God to engage and encounter ways we might deepen our relationship to the divine.  We are letting the words of the poetry and prayers of hymns help us encounter the Holy.  All four verses are worth slowly savoring and seeing what stirs within you.  But I draw your attention to the fourth and final verse:

Praise to the living God, around, within, above.  Beyond the grasp of human mind, but whom we know as love.  In these tumultuous days, so full of hope and strife, May we bear witness to the Way, O Source and Goal of life.

Pause, what images of the divine are within these words?  Name them aloud right now to your computer screen.

I hear God who swirls and stirs; dances within me and beyond me.  I hear God as love that can hold the tumult and tension of these days.  I hear God who is both the Source – the One who breathes in the breath of life – as well as the Goal of my life.  That last one really sets my soul in new directions.  How can God both Sustain my life right now and also let my relationship with God be the Goal of life?  What if how I connect with God today is the way we measure faithfulness as a church (as opposed to how many people attended worship or budget or other outward ways we define success)?

I invite you to read all the verses of this hymn with open hearts and imaginations.  Find ways to let the hymn impact and influence how you pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Find a prayer partner who you can converse with so that prayer isn’t just an isolated and individual activity.  I pray you are finding heart-warming and soul-stirring ways to let our hymnal shape your prayer life this week. 

Prayer: Let praise be woven into our prayers today, O God.  Let the Lord’s Prayer fall from our lips with new emphasis and enthusiasm and energy, as if we were excitedly learning how to pray right from Jesus.  Amen. 


Monday, June 7, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Last week, we explored and examined various translations of the Lord’s Prayer.  We prayerfully pondered which words settled and sung to your heart.

This week, I invited you to open your prayer book also known as your hymnal to listen and learn and lean into the images of God found there.  Often you might miss the vast variety of ways we describe and define the divine in hymns.  This week, you can connect the words we sing with the ways we pray the Lord’s Prayer, especially focusing on the first few words that fall from our lips as we open the prayer, “Our Father, who art in heaven, holy is Your name.” 

How might hymns help us explore and expand our imaginations as we pray these words each day at noon this week?  I am so glad you asked!!

We will begin with one of my favorite hymns, Bring Many Names by Brian Wren.  The first verse is:

Bring many names, beautiful and good, celebrate, in parable and story, holiness in glory, living, loving God.  Hail and Hosanna! Bring many names.

What do you hear in that first verse about who God is and how God is at work in the world/in your life?

I hear that God is evolving and elastic and embracing many names.  I hear God loves story.  I celebrate God is living, which is to say, organic and changing and growing.  Remember, put your responses in the comment section.

As you prayerfully read through the rest of the hymn, Wren refers to God as, “Strong Mother” at work who is a “Genius at play,” which is a wonderful turn of phrase meaning God’s work is play and God’s play is work.  In another verse, God is a “Warm father” who embraces us especially in our wounds and wants.  God is an ancient one who has participated in the good, the bad, and the ugly of human history.  God is youthful crying out for justice.  God is never fully known or what Karl Barth called, “the Holy Other” and yet is also as close as the breath you are taking right now.

How might Wren’s beautiful lyrics evoke a way for you to pray the Lord’s Prayer?  You could, for each day this week, use one of Wren’s verses to inspire and image ways to call upon your relationship with God.  Our Mother; Our Playful Embracing Eternal One; Our Aching God wiser than our despair.  I know it gets a little wordy, but the point is that we are fostering a relationship with the Eternal.  I encourage you to find a prayer partner who might imagine/talk/dream/discuss with you.  May our hymnal/prayer book encourage and evoke from us this week ways we can connect with the One who Creates, Sustains, and Redeems.

Prayer: God who responds to many diverse names, help us find the words so that the meditations of our minds and what is stirring around our hearts would find expression to You.  Amen. 


Friday, June 4, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Today, I want to offer you three versions of the Lord’s Prayer.

“Whoa,” you say.  “I didn’t sign up for the advanced placement class on the Lord’s Prayer.”  I want to offer three versions to deepen our exploration.  Insert your mumbling about homework here.  Or your thought that these meditations were so much better last month.

You can engage these versions in whatever order you’d like.  You might read all three right now.  You might read just one today, another tomorrow, and the third this weekend.  However, as you encounter and engage these words, I invite you to continue to notice and name what happens as you pray these words.  


As I said earlier, often the first time through a different version of the Lord’s Prayer might seem too strange to stir the sacred.  The words below might feel like a tight shoe on our soul.  I offer these versions for you, as always, to hold lightly and see how God might be found in the syllables and spaces of each translation.  Prayer: May God’s presence hover and hold together our hearts each day we continue to pray the Lord’s Prayer at noon each day.  Amen.

 

Nazarene Transliteration of the Lord's Prayer

Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration. May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest. Your Heavenly Domain approaches. Let Your will come true - in the universe just as on earth. Give us wisdom for our daily need, detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go the guilt of others. Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from that what keeps us from our true purpose. From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age. Sealed in trust, faith and truth, I confirm with my entire being.

 

A womanist version used at Grace Cathedral at the Beyonce Mass. Author: Rev. Yolanda Norton.
Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us, we call upon your names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, in all the spaces in which you dwell. Give us each day sustenance and perseverance. Remind us of our limits as we give grace to the limits of others. Separate us from the temptation of empire, and deliver us into community. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.   

 

Ben Franklin’s Version of The Lord’s Prayer.

Heavenly Father, may all revere thee, and become thy dutiful Children and faithful Subjects; may thy Laws be obeyed on Earth as perfectly as they are in Heaven: Provide for us this Day as thou hast hitherto daily done: Forgive us our Trespasses, and enable us likewise to forgive those that offend us. Keep us out of Temptation, and deliver us from Evil.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


We have covered the two places in the Gospels that record the Lord’s Prayer.  Unfortunately, neither Mark nor John has a version of Jesus’ prayer for us to ponder.  Fortunately, many others do!  Today I want us to pray aloud the New Zealand Version of Lord’s Prayer.

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain bearer, Life-giver, Source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in whom is heaven: The hallowing of your name echo through the universe; The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world; Your heavenly will be done by all created beings; Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth. With the bread we need for today, feed us. In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. In times of temptation and test, strengthen us. From trial too great to endure, spare us. From the grip of all that is evil, free us. For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen.

With three versions of this prayer now swirling in your mind, stirring in your heart, and singing to your soul, what insights or ideas do you have?  Pause with that question.  Pay attention and turn your intention toward asking what is awakening within you three days into praying the Lord’s Prayer.

I continue to encourage you to refrain and resist rating or ranking these versions.  We can get so caught up in wanting to name our preference.  The problem for me with this is two-fold.  First, we name our preference as the best and want to argue with others who hold a different perspective.  That is, I will emphatically state that clearly Luke is the most faithful, awesome, accurate, and the best version ever.  And if you don’t agree with me then I feel compelled to try to change your understanding.  Why do we do this?  There is another way to listen and learn, to deepen and bridge what divides us through appreciation and affirmation. Second, when we rate and rank, we are operating in human realm not God’s realm (this contradicts the very prayer we just prayed!).  Humans want to know who is on first, what is on second, and (I can’t resist), I don’t know is on third (thank you, Abbot and Castelo).  We want to know what is trending on Twitter and who has the most “likes” on social media.  This prayer declares there is another way.  It is my prayer that the more we pray these words, the more we will let God’s wisdom get a word in edgewise that can challenge and change our lives. 

Prayer: Go back, and pray the New Zealand version again, and observe/be open to what shifts in your soul as you do.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


Today is Luke’s turn to teach and tell us the Lord’s Prayer.  Read aloud the New Revise Standard Version of how Luke includes and interprets the Jesus prayer from chapter 11, verses 1-4.

 

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come.
    Give us each day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our sins,
        for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
    And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

Pause with me.  What stuck out to you as you read this translation?  Did you notice and name the differences between this version and what we say typically on a Sunday morning?  Maybe something different from Matthew’s version or something the same?  Was there a phrase you found particularly meaningful in what you just said?

Now, same passage only this time from Tree of Life Version.  Note, this version uses Yeshua Hebrew for Joshua.  Which the Biblical nerd in me has to say that Jesus, is the GREEK form of Joshua/Yeshua.  Why we have left Jesus un-translated when every other Greek word we put into English, I am not sure.  But this might be helpful as you read.

Now Yeshua was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Then Yeshua said to them, “When you pray, say,

‘Father, sanctified be Your Name,
Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

What stood out or struck you?  What is different between the two versions?  What seems similar?  Try not to evaluate, rate, or rank one as better.  How can you appreciate and affirm the beauty in both translations?  Does this cause you to want to look at other versions?  Go ahead!  Let loose your inner detective on biblegateway.com to read several other translations.

Prayer: May each reading of the Luke’s version awaken a sense of the One who seeks a life-giving and life-changing relationship with you and all of us in these days.  Amen.

 


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lord's Prayer

 


We begin our month of centering on the Lord’s Prayer with Matthew’s version.  Here is the way the scholars of the New Revised Standard Version translate Matthew 6:7-14.  I invite you to say this aloud!!

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.  14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Push pause right now.  Breathe.  Let those words you just read sink and settle all the way down to your soul.  What stuck out to you as you read this translation?  Was there a phrase you found particularly meaningful in what you just said?  Did you notice and name the differences between this version and what we say typically on a Sunday morning? Was there a new insight that is starting to form within you from praying these words outside of the usually time of Sunday morning?

Now, the same passage from The Message translation.

7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below.  Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. 14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

Again, what did you notice?  What is different between the two versions?  What seems similar?  Try not to evaluate, rate, or rank one as better.  How can you appreciate and affirm the beauty in both translations?  Does this cause you to want to look at other translations?  Go ahead!  Let loose your inner detective on biblegateway.com to read several other translations.

Prayer: May each reading of the Matthew’s version awaken a sense of the One who seeks a life-giving and life-changing relationship with you and all of us in these days.  Amen. 


God's Calling - We don't have it all figured out

  A few weeks ago, I offered the analogy of the Slinky as a serendipitous example of the ways calling can go off course and still end up in ...