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.