Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God's Grammar

In this Lenten season, I have been using the Book of Faith Lenten Journey
which encompasses meditation on the words of the Lord's Prayer. Though I have enjoyed each day, perhaps the meditation that has stuck with me most is the exercise of contemplating the pronouns of the Lord's Prayer, God's grammar. What does it mean to say that God is "our" Father in this prayer? What does it mean to ask for "our" daily bread? What is the weight of seeking forgiveness for "our" sins? The words "I","me" and "my" have no place in this prayer, the prayer Jesus gives in answer to the question of how we should pray. Does this change how you see others,to remind yourself again that God is not picking and choosing as we do? Might the notion that we ask for all to have daily bread, inform our choices, our advocacy, and our idea of what is "enough"? How does it feel to ask God to forgive OUR sins,not just "my sins."? There is no "us versus them" in this equation. The other pronoun I have pondered is "your." God, we hallow, your name. What is not there? Holding up ourselves as holy and worthy. Your kingdom come, your will be done. For this to be meaningful prayer, it means we are affirming that God's arrangement of the world is right and should exist and that we pray for it to be so. If that arrangement means that all have a place in the circle, and that all are truly interdependent, can we think more deeply about how we see others? And about the role of our will? Yours is the kingdom and power and glory. Not ours. Not mine. It is hard sometimes to acknowledge that God's kingdom is not always the kingdom that we desire- it does not square with our wants, our preferences, our fears.God hears all our prayers, the prayers of all of us, not just some. And one final thought- if we really mean it when we pray this prayer, how are we called to be workers for this kingdom where all have their daily bread, where all have God as Father, where all seek forgiveness and a place in the kingdom?
Lord, you answered us when we asked you to teach us how to pray. We ask you to teach us how to live what we pray. Amen.

3 comments:

Jim said...

One doesn't often hear it preached like this; but, in Isaiah 6, the prophet declares "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips." Several of the OT prophets, in fact, when putting forth prayer, utilize the plural "we" rather than simply the singular "I" in stating the state of humanity. Good thoughts here...

Pastor Eric said...

That first pronoun, "Our" sets the tone for me. Right off the bat we are admitting we are all part of the same family with the same Father. And if we are all in the same family (and we are) then how do we not look out for the needs of one another as we do in our earthly families.

Thank you for this post and reminding us of some good grammar.

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