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"From the Pulpit" - July 24th, 2022

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

"From the Pulpit" - July 24th, 2022

1 [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.”2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:  Father, hallowed be your name.   Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins,    for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.   And do not bring us to the time of trial.” 5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

 9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13

Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ!

Whew! Hot enough? I know we're scattered right now, from the upper plains to the midwest, to the south and southeast, but no matter where you are right now, I know you're hot. I think it may even be hotter up north than it is in south FL right now. I heard on WAMU (public broadcasting from DC - American University) this morning that temps could top 100 degrees. Whoa!

I enjoy reading this translation of the Lord's Prayer - it's different from what we usually hear or read. And notice that there is no doxology at the end..."for thine is the kingdom...". That was added later by the church itself.

This Sunday, my message will take a look at the LP, and try to make a connection between "your kingdom come...on earth as it is in heaven", taking it all the way back to Eden. Creation. When God creates humankind, and sort of turning over the care of all that God had made, to humans. We pray in the prayer, "thy will be done", and yet, there are billions of wills - yours, mine, everyone else, and each has its own will. Each has its own likes and dislikes, wants and desires.

So as God turns over the care of his creation to us humans, we quickly decide that we'll do as WE will. We'll tend to God's creation as WE see fit, losing track of God's will for creation. God turns us loose to care for what God has given us, and ever since, we've completely messed things up. I look at this prayer as a prayer to help us restore that which God has so freely and lovingly given us. Shalom. Balance. Peace. And we must get to work to restore this heaven on earth.

I can imagine the excitement when those around Jesus first realized who he was, and what he was called to do. John, the gospel writer refers to this time as the "new creation" - a time when God comes in human form to begin the process of restoring creation to what it would have been like at creation. Fixing the world. They knew that justice, reconciliation, respect for all people, lifting up the lowly and disenfranchised were close at hand, since this was God in the flesh. God had indeed drawn near to them. But again, we messed it up by crucifying him.

So heaven is not some distant far off place where we end up after we die. Heaven, instead, as I see it, is here. It is all of us working together to restore Eden, to bring God's good creation back to what it was. It's about partnering with God here and now, to make a better world. A world of beauty, and shalom. How we understand heaven will affect how we live out our lives. If we view heaven as just some far away place, then we take things for granted (much the same way we're not doing much about climate change, because we can't see it directly, and it's less visible.) But if we see heaven as something towards which we all need to work to restore, then we spend our days working to do just that - restore heaven on earth. We had it once, at creation. We must work together to bring it again.

Amen, thanks be to God.

"Sweet Hour of Prayer"

"Children of the Heavenly Father"

"Lord Be Glorified"

"How Great Thou Art"

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