Today this blog begins a new life. It will have one new important feature, namely, the Prayer of Jesus, also called the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father, which will be printed everyday, with an invitation to join a world -wide family of people committed to saying this prayer daily. The prayer is suitable for all circumstances of life and in face of all kinds of world events. It is the prayer given by God’s son to be the prayer of God’s children. It might well be used by people of all religions and none without compromising their own convictions. The prayer is given here in the version found in Luke chapter 11, rather than the more familiar expanded version found in Matthew chapter 7. The family of those who commit themselves to this discipline can be called Artos, the Greek word for bread which is used in the prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer, in Luke’s shorter version, is a small map of the Christian life.
We trust in a source of life beyond all universes. “Father” is Jesus’ word for the One who loves all creatures.
May your name be kept holy;
We worship this source knowing that it is beyond our knowledge yet we call it “father” as Jesus did, because we believe it is also a source of goodness and love. This worship protects us from worshipping the idols of our time and place.
May your kingdom come.
We long for everyone to live in God’s Way, the Way revealed supremely in Jesus
Give us day by day the bread we need,
Food and all the necessities of life are no longer “mine” but “ours”; no longer secured for all time but received day by day, year by year. We want the means of life to be shared justly.
And forgive us the wrongs we have done
As we forgive those who have wronged us;
Because we see the crucifixion of Jesus as the supreme sign of God’s love for the world, we trust that God will be generous in forgiving our sins, but we know that we have not fully received this forgiveness until we are able to forgive those who’ve wronged us.
And do not bring us into hard testing. Amen.
We are not supermen and women. We are frail flesh and blood and we ask to be spared situations which will test us beyond our strength, just as Jesus prayed before his arrest. But we trust that if we do come into hard testing, as Jesus did, God will deliver us from evil, as he delivered Him.
Learning to pray this prayer, and to live by it, is the heart of the Christian Way; but it also belongs to all children of God eveywhere.
PART 1 is about God the Father; PART 2 is about God the Spirit; and the WHOLE is the prayer of God the Son, and becomes the prayer of God’s children. In this prayer we become part of the Trinity.
Through this blog I’m inviting readers to use the prayer, by memorising it and saying it at the start of their day, which will be at diffrent times in different zones. Here in the UK I’ll use it at 8.00 British Standard Time. Please say the prayer while thinking of your brothers and sisters elsewhere, all of them dear to God, all of them part of the one family. You may like to identify yourself as part of the Artos family, by website address or email, using the comment facility on this blog. Your contributions will help establish this new world-wide commnity. Perhaps in time, the prayer community should create its own website.
The blog will continue to focus on a passage from the bible every day, now using the Revised Common Lectionary, along with a headline from world news.
Today’s headline: Honduras-most violent place in the world
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
27-28 “Now comes my hour of heart-break, and what can I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very purpose that I came to this hour. ‘Father, honour your own name!’” At this there came a voice from Heaven, “I have honoured it and I will honour it again!”
29 When the crowd of bystanders heard this, they said it thundered, but some of them said, “An angel spoke to him.”
30-33 Then Jesus said, “That voice came for your sake, not for mine. Now is the time for the judgment of this world to begin, and now will the spirit that rules this world be driven out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself.” (He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.)
34 Then the crowd said, “We have heard from the Law that Christ lives for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be ‘lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35-36a At this, Jesus said to them, “You have the light with you only a little while longer. Go on while the light is good, before the darkness come down upon you. For the man who walks in the dark has no idea where he is going. You must believe in the light while you have the light, that you may become the sons of light.”
36b-38 Jesus said all these things, and then went away, out of their sight. But though he had given so many signs, yet they did not believe in him, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled, when he said, ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been
John reports Jesus using the ambiguous expression “lifted up” which may refer to being put on a cross, or to being raised into God’s presence. Understandably the crowd is confused. Jesus however insists that the judgement of the world is beginning: those who reject God’s son, God’s word, God’s servant (as defined in Isiaiah 53) pass judgement on themselves, excluding themselves from the source of light and choosing the darkness in which evil holds sway.
Jesus’ prophecy that his being lifted up on the cross will draw all people to him is fulfilled wherever the Christian Church stands aside enough for people to see the crucified Jesus sharing the worst consequences of human evil while expressing God’s love for the world. Regardless of religion it seems to me that Jesus of Nazareth is a reasonable figure by which human beings can judge the direction of their lives; those who are drawn to him desire the light; while those who reject him desire the darkness. I know Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and atheists who belong in the first group; and sadly, Christians who belong in the second.
“This is the judgement,” John’s gospel says,”That the light came into the world and people preferred darkness.”