Summary: THe Lord's prayer... seen through the lense of the Spirit!
Concordia Lutheran Church
- Pentecost 9 July 25, 2010
Living In God’s Providence…
† IN HIS NAME, JESUS, SON AND SAVIOR †
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we grasp the invitation to place everything that burdens us into our Father in Heaven’s care, may we realize the depth, and height and breadth and width of God’s love for us, revealed in Christ Jesus! AMEN!
Intro – Do we treat God like a rich uncle
His name is William, and in most people’s minds, he is very well off, quite comfortable, even extremely rich. He lives in Massachusetts, has a summer lake-house in New Hampshire, and travels the world first-class. He owns car dealerships and restaurants and even a small chain of banks.
He’s my uncle, my mom’s brother, second born of seven or eight.
I tend not to communicate with him all that much, just a half-dozen to a dozen times in the last ten years. Perhaps its because I am afraid to be seen as a hanger-on, someone who is near because I expect the scraps from his table. And part of it is my own pride, I hate to be put into a position where I think I might “owe” someone, when they freely share something with me. It’s definitely my responsibility, as I take counsel of my own fears. I still remember the reaction, when he learned my son’s name was William, and he asked who I named him after.
Funny thing is, with two grandfathers, 2 uncles, a great uncle, 4 cousins, three mentors and a few friends named William, and my favorite television pastor/priest played by William Christopher, we named my son after…. Me.
Back to Uncle Bill, a nice guy from what I know. Ambitious and intelligent, he has accomplished much in his life. But I don’t know him, and am afraid to open up a relationship with him, less I seem…needy and dependant.
I think, as we look at the Lord’s Prayer this day, a lot of us treat God like I treat my Uncle Bill. We know the relationship is there, at least legally. But we hesitate, not understanding God’s desire for the relationship, and we are afraid to seem like we are dependant, we let our pride get in the way. Communication, which He welcomes, which He urges, which Jesus modeled and taught, and which has been handed down to us, doesn’t occur.
Is It a Matter of Doubt?
One of the challenging things about being in a relationship with another person, is the challenge of trust. To what extent will we trust the other person. How far will we trust ourselves, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to depend on others. We know all to well the pain of trusting others, of entrusting our feelings, our emotions, and even our lives. That is difficult for us to do with other people, there are many scars, many fears, and our very culture says be self-determined, self-dependent.
I am not sure I understand why, but I think a reluctance to pray comes from the same area – it is a risk, there is potential disappointment, there is probable pain. While we may never admit it, we have our doubts, and wonder is God that wise that we should trust Him without questioning Him, or is He fickle like us?
It’s one thing to trust Him for salvation, for that may seem far off, it is another perhaps to trust Him to forgive our sin, or that He is there, that God the Son, Jesus Christ is truly present in the sacrament.
Or maybe we wonder about our role – do we really matter to Him, do we see ourselves as needy dependents, struggling with wanting to be strong and faithful, and we think that we shouldn’t need to be so whiney, so needy, so…. Childlike and dependent and such a bother.
And weak in faith, challenged by the need to trust, we too often walk away from an invitation. We have walked away from the comfort, the wisdom, the relationship. That is ultimately, the nature of sin, our turning our back on a relationship with the God who calls to us, inviting us into His kingdom, inviting us to be His people, His children, and He to be our God, our Father.
The easiest way to see this in our lives, yes even in the lives who have known God’s love, and have been by His authority, baptized and cleansed and celebrated His presence at His table, is when we treat prayer as a duty, even a noble duty. When we have had the joy of walking daily with God stolen from us, and we are left with seeing this as commanded, another thing to cross off our daily task list.