June 21, 2009

Our Father Meditation, part II

Today we look at our response to the blessing of being children of our Loving Father in Heaven.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…What do we really mean when we say this phrase? If we take our praying literally, we are saying, with Isaiah, ‘Here I am, send me’ (Is. 6:8). It is only through the obedience of each of us that God’s kingdom will become reality.
It is nice to sit happily in our ‘Abba’s’ lap, listening to the stories of faith. However, sooner or later we hear a whisper in our hearts that says, “Go, preach, teach, heal...” Usually it’s not a grand casting aside of our current life to ‘go to Calcutta’. More often, we find that God has been working on preparing us for the task we now have in front of us.
God uses us where we are. He made a liar (Jacob) into the patriarch of a nation, an old childless woman (Sarah) into a happy mother, a foreigner girl (Ruth) into the ancestor of a king. It was in the recitation of these same stories that our faith-ancestors learned to trust God. In these same stories, we learn trust in our heavenly Father, we can rest secure in His lap and know that everything is taken care of.

On Earth, as it is in Heaven…Earth is our venue. It’s the only place we have to act and the only opportunity we have to forward God’s plan in our lives and in the world. It can be overwhelming to think about the whole globe as our arena. That is why each of us has a specific task to do.

Some of us reach people through music or the written or spoken word. Others are excellent teachers and touch young lives. Healers can be medical doctors or someone willing to offer a listening ear. Many times it is the events in our lives that scar us where we find ministry.
Just as a child finds security in the love of earthly parents to try new things, so, too, we can find confidence from being in our Father’s lap to do all that we are called to do. And that faith gives us the ability to say “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)

The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that God’s Will is being performed not just here on earth with our meager abilities. The phrase says “Thy will be done on earth AS it IS in heaven” Everything we do is supported by the hosts of heaven. I don’t know about you, but thinking of being backed up by ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ and the ‘hosts of heaven’ gives me the same warm fuzzy feeling that sitting in my father’s lap did.

Give us this Day…Notice that the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t ask for a lifetime of supplies. Twelve Step programs know the truth of ‘one day at a time’. Each of us is an addict in some way. We may not choose to abuse alcohol or drugs, but we are all addicted to having our way. It’s the fallen human condition. Only on a day-to-day basis can we possibly hope to exist less selfishly and for some of us, that’s more of a minute-by-minute attempt.

Steven Curtis Chapman has a song “Next Five Minutes” that helps put it all in perspective:
I can reminisce about the already I can worry and fret about the not yet
But when it all comes down I know it really, really all comes down to the right now
So right now
I'm living the next 5 minutes like these are my last 5 minutes
'cause I know the next 5 minutes may be all I have
And after the next 5 minutes turn into the last 5 minutes
I'm taking the next 5 minutes and starting all over again
Every moment God is giving is precious, every heartbeat every breath I take
We'll never have them back once they've left us.
There will never be another right now
So right now
This is the day this is the hour,

Chapman says “There will never be another right now.” Now is meant to be lived in the loving presence, even lap of our Father. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Our Daily Bread…Don’t you find it interesting that in this, the only prayer Jesus is recorded as teaching, that He tells us to ask simply for bread. We don’t need cakes or riches. All we need is enough bread for each day. Marie Antoinette may have lost her head by callously, or foolishly, saying of the poor of France ‘let them eat cake’.

Our Lord was much more grounded. All we need is bread—the basic ‘staff’ of life. In Matthew 7:10 Jesus reminds us that even earthly fathers give their children the best things “…what man of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?...how much more will your Father who is in heave give good things to those who ask Him!”

What a promise—that we will always have enough, no matter what the need. Makes you want to snuggle up with your Father and say ‘Thank you,’ doesn’t it?

Next Sunday I'll post the final meditation on the Lord's prayer--our responsibility.

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