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March 3, 2019, 12:00 AM

Transfiguration in Daily Life

Transfiguration in Daily Life

Welcome to Transfiguration Sunday. Today we read about Jesus being up on the mountain and it says his appearance changed and his clothes became dazzling white. Interesting that they chose dazzling white since white is the color of purity and innocence for much of the world. To me, it is almost as if there was something so glorious they were looking at, they couldn't quite describe it in the words they had, so they picked out the best option they could. Think about it. Take the most beautiful flower you have every seen and try to describe it. For me at least, yes I can give you a description, but no matter how I try, it still lacks something and comes out sounding flat in comparison to the reality that I am attempting to describe. And isn't that true about much of what we know of God. God is larger than, more impressive than, and more, well just more than we are able to describe using the words that we have. So, this morning we read the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, the story of how his very human appearance transformed into something so much more. Evidence is from the story that this comes from touching or being in the presence of God.

Our Old Testament lesson talked about when Moses came down from the mountain and how he “glowed”. Now we joke about people who have come in contact with nuclear radiation glowing but they did not have Nuclear power plants in Moses day, so I will have to take the story at face value. We read that as Moses came down the mountain, he was not aware of it, but everyone around him saw the glow. The glow from being in the presence of God was so strong that he veiled his face most of the time. He only uncovered himself to go into the presence of God, leaving himself unveiled when he returned to the people to bring the word of God to them. After speaking God's word for the people, he veiled his face again, because they could not bear to look upon him like that all the time. So, God's presence transfigured Moses or transformed the way he look to the people.

I think, one of the closest and most common places we describe the same, is in the description of the pregnant woman. I have heard all my life that pregnant women “glow” or they have an aura about them. As I was thinking about this I think it has to do with their contact with the creator at that time. They are participating in the generative work of a creating God. God created the heavens and the earth and the people there in. God left us to care for and tend to creation and gave us the spark that lets us in some ways participate in that creative work and one of the ways we participate in that creative work is by bearing children. And so that is, I think, the healthy glow you see on people who are pregnant. It comes from their participation in the work of, entering into the presence of and being in close contact with the creator. These bearers of, creators of, participants in, the generative work are therefore transfigured in their appearance by their contact with God.

Not all of us are going to go up on a mountain to have a cloud descend upon us so that we might sit in the presence of God and get that glow that Moses and Jesus did. Not all of us are going to carry a child and touch God in that manner. For many of us, who love children and participated in the generative work of creating and/or bearing children into this world, the days of a healthy glow from being pregnancy are over. We will not be bringing more children into this world. I love being a parent and raising my children. Christa has found great fulfillment and joy, I believe, in bearing and helping to raise children. Christa and I, will not have anymore children and the truth is that every year the hours spent in active parenting are reduced and the children, thankfully, as we have raised them to do, they have become largely independent. Yes, there are days when we still parent, but few when we spend much of the day parenting. Most days the majority of our time is spent on other activities. And lets face it, parenting a teenager, even a good one with lots of love, is more likely to produce a transformation based in anxiety and frustration than in having touched or knowing you sat in the presence of God.

So, what now. Are we done. Is there no way that I can be that fully in the presence of God. I will be 48 this week. Based on my dad's health and the age of my grandparents when they died, I will probably live to be over 90, assuming I take even reasonably good care of myself. So what, I will spend the next half of my life never fully participating in the work of God. The best I can expect is that, should one of my children choose to bear children, I will get to see the echo's of this work in my grandchildren. That would be wonderful but not quite the same as participating directly in and fully reflecting the image of God in something I can call fully my own. What about all of my friends who have chosen not to have children for a variety of reasons, or those who are not able to have children for a variety of reasons, are they to never participate in and fully reflect the image of the God. I can not believe that is true. I think there has to be more.

I think there has to be more and I have met people along the way who in fact have a glow about them. You know that they are about the work of God, they evidence it in some unexplainable way. There is a transformation or transfiguration in much the same way you find with pregnancy. I think we don't tell the story as often, because the stories are less universal. And yet in the US, 15% of women 40-44 do not have children and thus likely won't. The number of people choosing not to have children is growing and 2017 represented an all time low in number of births per 1000 women according to the NY Times. Given that almost half the population in the US is male, in the US, 70% of the population at best participates with a partner or family member who is pregnant. And for many who are parents, over half our lives will be spent on other endeavors and yet we were made in the image of a creator. So, in my mind, there has to be more.

Consider this, God made not just the people but the animals, the sun, the moon and the stars, dry land and oceans, and God made daytime and night time and the light. God created not just human beings but so much more. We reflect God and God is a creator and human beings are creative beings as well. So, maybe procreation is only one of the ways to participate in creating as those who reflect the image of God.

In Seminary, I was encouraged by one of my professors, when writing my thesis on marriage, and considering childless couples to think of God as generative. Out of God was generated the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. Procreation is one generative work, it generates something new, it adds to creation. So, maybe the question is how do we participate as generative beings reflecting our creator.

Thus an architect helps to generate buildings and hopefully adds to the beauty of the earth. Those who build water systems for poor communities help to share the love of God and help to generate things that will help to sustain the creation and thus reflect the creator. Those who help to heal the wounds of the mind, or help indigenous communities to sell their crops or to see the nutritional value of their crops are helping to generate a better world and thus participating in the creative work of God and reflect their creator in doing so. I look around this congregation and I see people who on the whole make the world a better place, they reflect a loving God in their work and they generate things, attitudes and environments that improve, tend and help to sustain God's good creation.

Think for a minute about the quilting and prayer shawl ministries around the world. People sew, knit, crochet or weave blankets. Many times they do it in community and you hear them chat away happily as they work and pray over their blankets. Or maybe you see the pride in the person when they finish the quilt. Are those not reflections of the tranformative power of being in the presence of God. Consider the recipient and the smile that comes to their face knowing someone cared enough to make this item, does that not help them to be in the presence of God and is their smile not at least in some way a reflection of the transfiguration. I have to believe that these ministries are part of the generative work of a loving creator. These and so much more that we do are part of our reflecting God the creator.

So, look around you each day and I think you will see the transfiguration of people as they enter into the presence of God, through their work and volunteer activities. Consider your own life and what are the things that make you glow from the inside out, what are the things that transfigure you, those are places that you have touched on or drawn most closely from the power of God in your life. Does your work, paid or volunteer, help you to generate good and love and beauty in the world and do you recognize what you are doing because I think if you do you to will find yourself transfigured or transformed if you prefer. Consider what is the pregnancy glow and then think about all the other places you have seen it. Consider the indescribable, dazzling white of Jesus and then ask where else have I see that or been that for another. Transfiguration is all around you, I hope you get to see it in yourself or others everyday. AMEN.

February 24, 2019, 12:00 AM

Feeding Five Thousand and Walking on Water

Grace and peace to you from the triune God. May the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

Our Gospel starts with Jesus unsuccessfully running away. Jesus has just heard about the beheading of his cousin John and presumably needs a moment to think and to mourn. Jesus sets out in a boat to a desolate place but that only leads the crowds following him and showing up at this new place. Jesus is good about it and fulfills their request. Jesus spends the day healing the sick when we see the disciples come to him and suggest that the people be release to go home and find some supper. Jesus decides that instead he is going to use this moment.

Jesus tells the disciples that instead of sending these folk off to find something to eat that they are going to have the very first potluck? No but he does say that the people should have a seat and the disciples will feed them. This is one of those funny moments in the bible when you aren't quite sure if this is the new Moses telling the people about what God is doing or if Jesus is having a moment when he is helping people to know that he is actually one of the manifestations of God in the world. Much like the Israelites in the desert, who got manna, five loaves of bread and two fish are turned into a veritable feast for the masses. And so we read, “all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” So if we assume for a moment that the women equal the men in numbers and that each couple should have children this quickly balloons to somewhere between twelve thousand and twenty thousand people.

In the “Feeding of the Five Thousand,” which by the way in the titling and writing of the story speaks to how society valued its members. When you only count the men then they are everyone who counts. But I digress. It is a miracle that this great hoard of people were all fed and that is wonderful and speaks to the divinity of Jesus, which is important to our next bit of scripture.

We read that immediately after they had eaten, Jesus put the disciples in a boat and sent them off and then Jesus dismissed the crowds and went off to a quite place to have a moment. Presumably this is the moment he was working for earlier and so has a moment to deal with the loss of his cousin John the Baptist. Remember, Mary went to spend time with the pregnant Elizabeth and so there is a high likelihood that Jesus and John while cousins were also close and spent a fair bit of time together. And so Jesus gets this moment away and proves his humanity and that these things which hurt us a humans are also hurtful for God. As we all know ministry does not wait and so Jesus after having taken a moment follows the disciples.

Jesus we read goes for a little walk about and ends up at the boat out in the middle of the lake. There had apparently been some pretty bad waves and the wind was all wrong and the disciples were fighting this all when early in the morning we read who should come walking up in the middle of the lake but Jesus. Now this alone speaks to the divinity of Jesus because biblically and at that time water was also the representation of chaos and the only person that could control the chaos was God. Remember back in Genesis when God separated the waters from the waters and put the earth in that space. It could also read that God controlled the chaos. Let us keep our eyes on the prize however.

When the disciples saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the sea they assumed it was a ghost. This terrified them, here they are fighting the sea, the chaos and up walks this ghost, certainly that was a bad omen. And we read, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’” Jesus recognized their fear and spoke to their fear. And that is when,  “Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’”  To my thinking this is Peter saying, “Give me some proof that you are Jesus and not a Ghost.” and Jesus obliges Peter saying, “Come.” Jesus calls Peter's bluff if you will or decides if you prefer to answer the thoughts of those in the boat with a sign.

Thus we read, “Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’” and thus we once again in this text see the Divinity in Jesus answer the human needs question. Today we had the divinity in Jesus answer the need for physical and spiritual healing, the divinity in Jesus answer the need for food and now the divinity speaks of faith being that which will save us from the chaos.

I want to go back for just a moment though to the scene Peter walking on the water out to Jesus. In this time as long as Peter is focused on Jesus and not the situation they are in, Peter can do incredible things. As soon as Peter started looking at the mess that was happening around him he began to sink. However, as soon as he focused on Jesus again he was saved. I think this is a wonderful metaphor for our time. We can look at all the things, the chaos if you will, that is happening around us and loose that focus on God, We can loose that focus on Jesus , We can loose that faith connection, which will save us. Consider our situation as a church, we can focus on the things that don't by our earthly standards seem to be working, or we can look at the inspiration and provision that God has sent us, which allows us to continue ministering in this community with a Lutheran witness and presence. We have pulled off the nearly miraculous feat of a basically balanced budget. Thank you for your faithful and generous support, which has made that possible and thanks be to God for the other pieces that came together to make it possible. It is not any one thing that balance the budget. We have a family that cares deeply about our ministry, we have a successful learning center, we nest another church in our midst, in addition to the little bits here and there which add up over the course of a year.

When we leave worship in just a little bit, after being fed at the table, having had the gift of forgiveness renewed in our lives, having been hopefully renewed in our faith and focus on God we will be entering a time to consider the finances of the church. As we enter that time, remember that the budget is a guiding document, with flexibility to change as we see new and different opportunities to witness and/or receive God's provision. I hope as we enter this time, which helps guide the directions of the church we can remember the witness of Peter and the reality that if we keep our focus on God and Jesus the chaos around us will not sink us. As we enter this time of business and considering where the money comes from and goes to I pray that we can remember the witness of the feeding of five thousand that reminds us of where the provision truly lies. As we leave this space of worship to spend time on the business of the church and return to the world I pray that your faith has been renewed this day that you might be focused on  that which brings us salvation, God.


February 17, 2019, 12:00 AM

Wheat and Tares

Grace and peace to you from the Triune God, may the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God this morning.

It can be really tempting to judge the people around us. We as humans like to be part of the “In Crowd” and that requires ad “Out Crowd.” We need criteria to determine who is in and who is out. We use these criteria judge the people around us. This is evidenced in statements like, “How can they be a Christian, acting like that.” Wheat and Tares look an awful lot alike in the beginning and it is only when they come to maturity that you can tell them apart.

Some of you have heard the story of the young man who prayed me back into the church. For the benefit of those who have not, Back in the early 1990's, when I was in college and during the period when I had rejected Jesus and the Church, Jeff Schmidt, who was a faithful and church going young man and class mate in college, heard God telling him to pray for me. Now I was off at college doing the things that college students do and generally enjoying life. I was not doing anything illegal but certainly hedonism was the arbiter of my conduct. Jeff in hearing God, therefore said to God, surely there was someone more deserving than I, but at God's insistence, Jeff prayed for me and ultimately was the one who would lead me back in the church.

Now, over twenty years later, we know that God saw in my heart the faith that would allow me to accept the call to go to seminary and ultimately the call to become a pastor. There is no way that Jeff could have seen this in the nineteen or twenty year old young man that he knew in college. And so the human interpretation of who will be in and who will be out, is missing the crucial view of what is happening on the inside of the person. Only with that knowledge of the internal thinking then and the internal potentiality would it be possible to properly judge who might be in and who might be out.

The workers in the field wanted to do the right thing and to help their master out. The workers in the field suggested that since the Master had not planted the Tares that they might purify the field on the Master's behalf. The Master knew that it was hard to tell the two apart and that the intertwining of the roots of the plants meant that you would loose some of the wheat and that was unacceptable. If we think of the parable of the lost sheep, where Jesus tells us that he will go after one sheep that none may be lost, it makes a lot of sense that God would be concerned with uprooting the sinners when the same act might would uproot a saint. Whether we would up root the saint because we would judge with our own preconceptions and thus mistake wheat for tare or because in up rooting the sinner we disturb the soil that the saint is growing, in thus causing the wheat to wither and die, is not important.

There is a line as well in the explanation of the parable that I think also speaks to why we need to be careful about determining who is in and who is out. We read, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers” Now I will admit that I have often read this as the angels will collect all the sinners and evildoers, but that is not actually what it says. The truth is that what it says is much more consistent with the theology around simul justus et pecator, a basic part of Lutheran theology, meaning simultaneously saint and sinner. This is the reminder that my faith has been accounted to me for righteousness or I am counted as in right relationship with God because of my faith, which does not say, I did all the right things and now God loves me. None of us are only on the saintly side of the equation. We are all both saint and sinner.

If you are both saint and sinner and the person sitting in front of, or behind, or to the left and right of you are both saint and sinner then, which one should be plucked up. This actually argues that for us not only is their wheat and tares in the same field but both are often within the same person. And God wants to watch us grow and mature and then at the end the part of us that is tares, will be removed, so that we can be only wheat. That is, I believe, the root of, removing the CAUSES of sin. The removal of the causes of sin is the purification of those who are part of the body and will remain part of the body. Those who are not and never have been part of the body those who count only as evil doers they will be removed from the body along with the parts us of who still count as sinner in the simultaneously Saint and Sinner.

We need to be careful when judging other people. We need to be careful when determining who is part of the “In Crowd” and who is part of the “Out Crowd”, because we don't have enough information to determine which should be which. I am reminded of my daughters description of someone she had recently met, who was Hard and Crusty on the outside but with a soft center. To meet this person there was not much likable about them and they seemed a bit maybe cruel and indifferent, but as you got to know them, you found out that there was this really kind, likable person inside. She also stated the if you know the things that this person has gone through in life then it makes sense why there is this hard, mostly impermeable barrier on the outside. It is the defense mechanism for dealing with the, at moments, cruel world. Think of the biker who gives away Teddy Bears for children at Christmas. If you get a glimpse inside, it is often different from the outside.

Finally I want to talk about the other reason for not putting one person out. Remember that I said it was nearly impossible to tell the wheat from the tare when they are young. They look largely the same the difference is in their color when they mature. I have also seen this repeatedly in life, where a young person who is challenged and in trouble eventually grows up and becomes respectable. I even said to my mother one day that it is amazing but all of my friends from childhood have grown up and become respectable. And so we judge people by who they are right now. We may want to remove the tares from the wheat at moments to purify the body and we may well find that if we will leave well enough alone, as that person matures, they change into the possibility that God sees, not the current reality we see.

Workers of the field, go out fertilizing all that you see, letting it all mature and leaving to the angels the sorting of the wheat from the tares. AMEN.

February 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

The Golden Rule

Grace and peace to you from the triune God. May the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We teach it to our early ed students every week in chapel. (show and tell time) In other words, do only those things that if you were on the receiving end you would like to have done to you. If you prefer put yourself in their shoes and ask if this seems fair and right from their perspective before you do it. Another way to say, love your neighbor as yourself. And as if to reinforce this point Jesus says that this is the summation in a few words of two of the three books in what we know as the Old Testament. Seems like it ought to be really easy and yet we continue to wrestle with it, we continue to find that it is a relevant word and so we continue to preach it. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Another similar mandate in this text is from the beginning of the section where it reminds us to be careful of the standard by which we judge others because God chooses to use that as the standard by which God will judge us. We often look to the bible to find the standards with which to judge or to back our position and justify us when we wish to enter a harsh judgment upon the other and yet maybe we need to back up just a moment and ask if we would like to be judged using the same standard we are currently putting upon the other person. Remember as well the value to you of God's grace.

Reinforcing the point Jesus tells them to take care of the errors of their own ways before they get busy trying to correct the other person. You might protest but they are doing all of these things that are wrong and Jesus simply asks if you are managing to do everything right. And the reality for most of us is that there are things about our life and our living that could be improved and we are reminded to spend our time getting ourselves right instead of spending our time helping others to see the wrong they have done. I feel that one of the profound things in what Jesus says here is that it leaves us to almost never judge the other person and from the human perspective that is truly a novel concept. Between not wanting to be judged and not judging unless we have our own house in order we might find that there is very little judging of the other to be done.

What else do we have in this little gem of a passage for today. ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.' It would seem as if this passage is simply telling us to be persistent in asking for those things that we want and certainly there is an element in here of suggesting that persistence will get you all that you heart desires. And what a lovely thought that we can have anything that we want if we just pray hard enough and long enough. This is the basis for an entire camp of Christians today, who preach what I like to call the Health and Wealth Gospel, which in short states that God wants you to have perfect health and tremendous wealth. The caveat is of course that you must have perfect faith and pray without ceasing and thus when these things do not come true which no doubt if you look around they won't always, then either you did not have enough faith or you did not pray long enough.

I think that all you need to do is to look around and see the unanswered prayers of very faithful people to know that this is bollocks. We all know people of tremendous faith who continue to pray for something that we think is perfectly reasonable and have prayed for a long time and yet have failed to receive it. There was a movie in the early 2000's called Bruce Almighty and in it the main character is given God's job and at one point takes the prayers of all people and says yes to all. The chaos that ensues is incredible, everyone who plays wins the lottery and thus bankrupts the system overnight, people are praying for things they do not understand fully and thus get what is actually bad for them, and the story goes on and on.  If we look at the health side of the equation, asking what would it hurt for everyone to get well, that was taken on by a series called Torchwood in their season called Miracle Day. No one died in this season and it was awful, again the knock on effects were catastrophic. So, if God answering all our prayers in the affirmative is not the point then what might be the point.

I read one author, a professor of theology, who suggested that it was intended to get us to pray more and more consistently, which had the side effect of helping us to develop a relationship with God and this relationship would then let us move from praying for our hearts desire to praying what was on God's heart. In other words sometimes prayer is about shifting our desires even more than it is about getting God to do what we think is right. Certainly, there are prayers from this congregation that I have seen which were righteous prayers, not selfish but selfless and would seem to have done nothing but good, which were not answered in the way we wanted and thus it makes more sense that this is about moving our heart than it is about moving God's heart.

I don't want to suggest for even a moment that we should not pray or that prayers are never answered. But time spent with God will change us for the better. I am certain that part of Christa's recovery was the cloud of witnesses that were praying for her. I have seen again and again where it is obvious that what occurs must be the answer to prayer and yet not all righteous prayers are answered in the affirmative. Why bother then except that it moves our heart toward God's heart, which will lead us to prayers that God will answer.

I guess there are two themes today. The first being the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you or if it seems simpler, love your neighbor as yourself. The second, prayer is as much about changing us as it is about changing God or getting God to do what we want. I highly suggest spending lots of time in prayer and meditation and realize that it is partly about moving your heart and that might make doing to others easier.

February 3, 2019, 12:00 AM

The Lord's Prayer

          Grace and peace to you from the Triune God. May the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in the sight of God.

          I have heard a number of people over the course of my ministry suggest that they do not know how to pray. They feel thoroughly unqualified and they have no idea what the structure of a prayer might be. The good news if you are one of those who feels unqualified to pray is that we have lots of help. There are plenty of prayers throughout the bible and Jesus, the one we call savior, provided us one also. The other notation that I think is good for my heart is that apparently, the disciples did not feel qualified to pray either, since they asked Jesus to teach them.

          Yes the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Apparently they did not feel super qualified to pray but we don't find Jesus asking them how stupid they are or putting them down for the lack of confidence in their ability to pray adequately. Jesus simply spends some time teaching them and that is how we ended up with the Lord's prayer. From Jesus lips first to the disciples ears and now all these many years later to our ears. So let us take a look at this prayer we have been gifted.

          First, I want to talk about a couple of different ways it can be used. The Lord's prayer can be used as is or it can be used as an outline to guide prayers that we make ourselves. In other words you can as many of us do simply repeat the prayer or you can use it as a guide for writing your own prayer. Reality is most of us will do both at some point to suit the situation.

          When using it, as is, there are a couple of different versions you may have memorized and I won't get into the specifics of why there are multiple variants other than to say; A. it is caused by the nature of translation & B. if you look at our text today, the words in the middle of the prayer are forgive us our debts and at the end when Jesus is explaining the prayer he uses trespasses. Some versions are more poetic and others are an attempt at more precise translation. So, if you are to learn it new or again, learn a modern variation and if you have already memorized a version then good and keep using it.

          Next let us look at what the prayer says because whatever version you are using it can be helpful to have a little explanation.

  1. You will note that the first part is about God and the Second part is about our need.
    1. This is consistent with the outline and structure of the ten commandments
    2. This can be seen as an indication the priorities we might maintain (in prayer and life)
  2. Our Father – God is inherently communal. It is great to think about our individual relationship with God but when that comes to the exclusion of community remember that the trinity is a community of relationship and Jesus first act of ministry was to gather the disciples or a community of believers thus and consistent with the biblical witness, faith is also about community and our relationship to that community.
  3. Hallowed be the Name – Having a persons name gives you a bit of power in your world, simply consider how much quicker you respond when some one uses you name and this makes them someone, not no one, to you and thus to we must be careful with our use of the name of God, something not always practiced today. This is so important in some circles that you will see G-D, just to make sure one did not accidentally misuse the name of God.
  4. Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done, On Earth as in Heaven – The tenses in this sentence have an urgency in the original language and thus this is not about some day when there is a new heaven and a new earth but about the here now and today. In other word's we want the Kingdom of God to manifest here, now, today, in this place and how much better is it to live in a place that reflects the God of love. The caveat to this is that we are partly responsible for making that happen. It is not simply about waiting for God to act but also the reminder to us to be that action in the world around us. So, if anything, the action is for God to act through us and inspire us to do God's will and work to make the Kingdom a reality in our world.
  5. Give us today our daily bread – This may be one of the most dangerous passages for those of us who are used to the blessing of plenty and the surety of food for the next month, year, etc. And yet for those of us for whom the blessing has come and also gone it can be a real plea and a reminder that if I have sufficient to get me to the end of the day, that is good enough. So, if you are one of those blessed with plenty give thanks. If you are one of those who knows only that you have enough to get through this day, give thanks that you need not struggle to eat today and worry yourself a little less. I think as well that there is a thought of sufficiency in this that is uncommon in places of plenty. We do not need the latest and greatest contraption and we do not need more stuff. Our joy lies in our spiritual condition not in the acquisition of more, more, more. Finally on this daily bread question, I want to say that there is a spiritual request as much as there is a physical request. Sometimes the food we need is spiritual more than anything else and yes we are asking for lunch and the strength to get through whatever trials might stand in front of us today.
  6. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us – This is a contingent clause in the original language. This is a reminder that while our salvation and return to righteousness are a free gift from God to be enjoyed, we are expected to pass along the same to those we meet. We will as we learn in other places be judged by the same measure, which we use to judge people, thus we should choose a measure with as much grace as we hope God will show us, when dealing with people around us. With regard to the question of trespasses, sins, or debts; they each have their own merits. Sins is a thought that is not always used outside the church world and so can be a mixed bag of good and bad. Trespasses is a word rarely heard in our modern time and certainly the thought of us accruing a debt to God and of others being indebted to us for what has happened is consistent with the thought of this passage.
  7. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil – Newer translations almost never use this wording that is so familiar to us. First, why would a good and loving God lead us into temptation, that is not the job of God in our live but of the tempter or the forces of evil and so we might be kept from the time and place of temptation by following God but God will not lead us to temptation or time of trial but rather is the one to keep us from and rescue us from the trial and tribulations of life. Thus Lord, keep us from the time of trial is probably most appropriate and the plea for rescue from the evil that might befall us is certainly a petition to put before God.


The Lords prayer is something most of us know by heart and I encourage you not just to say it by wrote but additionally to savior it and at times pray it slowly enough to be reminded of what your are saying. It is the legacy gift for prayer given to us by Jesus own self. Amen.


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