June 14, 2009

Our Father Meditation I

As promised, here are my thoughts on probably the best known prayer in the world. It turned out to be a longer meditation than expected, so I’ve broken it into 3 parts.

Today we’ll look at our inheritance
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Next week our response
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread.
And on the 28th our responsibility
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Our Father…Abba, Daddy. How often do we stop and think about the first 2 words of this prayer? My fondest memories of my father are centered on a big green easy chair. When I was a little girl, up to probably 3rd grade, my family had a routine. After dinner, I would pick a bedtime story. Daddy would hold me in his lap in the green chair. Mother would finish the dishes and come in from the kitchen smoothing lotion into her hands. She’d settle down in her chair. Then Daddy read whatever story I chose to the three of us.

Can you imagine sitting in God’s lap while He reads you a story? That’s what the Bible is, you know. The stories God tells us when we take time to sit with Him—even sit in His lap. Found in the books of the Bible are the stories God wants us to know and to grow on.
The Lord’s Prayer invites us to draw as near to God as I was to my Daddy in his lap. Come close and be held in God’s arms, where there are no cares at all.

Who art in Heaven…Of course, even when we sit in our Father’s lap and listen to His stories of love, we are reminded right away that God is still God and heaven is his throne (Is. 66:1). If we are sitting in our Father’s lap, then we are also present with Him in heaven. We are “children of God,” says Paul (Rom. 8:16) and “fellow heirs with Christ.”

What does the word “Heaven” conjure up in your mind? A dictionary will give you several definitions: The sky; The abode of God or an eternal state of communion with God; Any of the places in or beyond the sky conceived of as domains of divine beings in various religions; The gods; A condition or place of great happiness, delight, or pleasure.

Do any of these express for you the sense of Heaven in this prayer? How does your definition of ‘heaven’ compare to the feeling of being held in the lap of our loving Father?

Hallowed be Thy Name…God, of course, is All Holy, entirely hallowed. In a spirit of adoration, we open the Lord’s Prayer by acknowledging this. Our Holy God has shown and continues to show His Fatherly love for each of us in amazing ways. Consider the heroes and heroines of the stories of the Bible. Even just looking at Genesis will give you an idea that God doesn’t wait for us to be perfect before acting. God doesn’t have to wait for us to become holy or perfect, precisely because He is already holy.

The American Sign Language motion for hallowed or holy is beautiful. The left hand is held out palm up while the right hand forms the letter ‘h’ and sweeps across the palm (http://www.handspeak.com/sign/h/indexHI.php?sort=holy). To me it signifies that being hallowed involves sweeping away of sins and/or whatever is dirty. That is exactly what our loving Father does, sweeps away our sins. In our Father’s arms there is no remembrance of any sin. Like the child at the end of the day, we are held and all the cares of our lives evaporate.

Next week we will look at our response to being beloved children of a Holy and Loving Father God.

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