“Jesus said to his followers:
when you pray,
pray like this…
So begins the best-known and most often prayed of all Christian prayers.
That the prayer is usually called The Lord’s Prayer is significant, since these words reveal the quality and focus of Jesus relationship with his Father.
I imagine this prayer being the frequent topic of conversation for the disciples in the weeks after Jesus gave them this gift: What was that prayer again Jesus? What was the bit about your kingdom? Jesus you mean that the extent to which I forgive my enemies determines the depth of forgiveness I am able to receive from God?
While the opening address “Our Father” effectively shifts our focus from ourselves to God, the first word “Our” is significant on its own teaching us that Christian faith is fundamentally a communion and not a loneliness.
While the secular world teaches us to save ourselves and those we love, in the Lord’s prayer we plead for God’s world to transform every creature of the earth: “Your Kingdom come.”
In God’s reign we are family, and every friend every foe is a sister or a brother.
Perhaps (following yesterday’s last judgement reflection) the challenge I will hear at the entrance to Heaven is: John, you are only able to enter when every person i have put in your life is ready to enter too…. go now and find them all and bring them.
That changes everything. If every person I encounter is my passport to heaven, what will happen to me if I turn up without them?
A Christian is not a lone wanderer but a member of the family of Jesus Christ. I am no longer a me and a my but a we and an our.
We walk together,
I know that some Food For Faith readers are fans of Thomas Merton. In the late 1950’s after almost twenty years in a fairly secluded monastery he had a powerful experience of God while picking up monastery supplies in the nearby town:
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the centre of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realisation that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers….There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.