Dear Hyde Park Family,
This Sunday, our journey through the Sermon on the Mount takes us to Matthew 6:9-18, and the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.
Matthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer is longer than Luke’s version, and in my sermon we will discover why the words and phrases that Matthew adds are so significant. Matthew’s version not only takes longer to say; it requires contemplation and reflection. Luke’s version focuses on the verbs, the requests made of God. Matthew’s focuses on reorienting us toward God.
So, to prepare for this Sunday, I invite you to pray the Lord’s prayer, slowly, line by line, reflecting on each phrase. You might use the following as a guide, which I will use to conclude the sermon:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Remind me that I am not to pray “My Father,” but “Our Father.” For you do not just belong to me or people who are like me. Remind me that you are bigger than any barrier that divides me from others. And you alone deserve my praise, beyond political ideology or tribal identity.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Amid the brokenness, evil, and injustice in this world, I desperately seek a glimpse of your kingdom: your kingdom of love, in which voices of prejudice are silenced; your kingdom of grace, in which racist hearts are transformed; your kingdom of peace, in which violent actions are overcome with non-violence. Remind me of how the story of your love ends, how there will be no more mourning or sadness, when people from all over the world will gather to worship you. Now help us see that reality now on earth, as you have promised it would be.
Give us this day our daily bread
I need the sustenance that both comforts and strengthens me today. Grant me the bread that consoles my sadness and quells my fears for this country and its future. Grant me the bread that firms my resolve to resist evil and injustice. Remind me that there are many around me who hunger for the same, and grant me the opportunity to feed them that which I have received from you.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
Convict me of my own prejudice, prompt me toward confession, and lead me in the tough work of reconciliation. Teach me how to forgive, especially when retribution seems more rewarding. Help me, in the words of Richard Rohr, to overcome the bad with the practice of the better. And may that work begin within my own heart, in the way I see others.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Tempt me only to do good and to seek justice, when I am reluctant or fearful. Lure me away from temptations that cause more harm and do not lead to peace. And silence all voices within me but your own, that I may know the difference between the two. May my every action and thought be governed by love, and not driven by my sinful instincts.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever
God, help me to hope. Remind me to seek the glorious eternal in the brokenness of the temporal. Focus my eyes on your power and glory, that I might believe in the strength of your grace, even when adversity afflicts us. Remind me that my primary citizenship is in your kingdom, which is greater than any tribe, higher than any flag, and most deserving of my allegiance.
And let all God’s people say,
Grace and Peace,