Since the beginning of June, we’ve been ‘unpacking’ each line of the Lord’s Prayer. We have explored heaven (June 18) and asked for our daily bread (July 16). We’ve looked at how to ‘hallow’ God’s name (June 25) and offered ourselves to bring God’s will to earth (July 9). We’ve seen that God’s Kingdom (July 2) comes partly through our ability to forgive and receive forgiveness (July 23, 30). The past couple of weeks have been devoted to praying for protection from temptation and evil.
Today we consider the final phrase of the prayer “For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever”. It is a summary of all the rest of the lines of the Lord’s Prayer. As some commentators note, it is a doxology of praise. In this last section, we return to praising God, as at the start. We acknowledge that God alone has the Power and Glory. Only God can accomplish all that we have asked. It is interesting to note that in the Luke version of the prayer (Luke 11:2-4) this phrase is absent. In some translations of the Matthew citation (Matthew 6:9-13) it is also absent with the note that this doxology was added early on by the church. Likely the early church fathers thought that the prayer should have some nice and tidy way to end.
Enter the Presence: This ending Doxology is a good reminder that to God do belong the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory. Saint Irenaeus, a second century bishop, wrote: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
We are reminded in the Old Testament that “the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 24:17) The New Testament encourages us to participate in that glory. In the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul says “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) The Philippians are urged to have “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11) Our every action is to be a doxology of its own-a hymn of praise in action to God.
Of course, as Paul tells the Roman community “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Still, the Colossians are encouraged because we are those “to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) Because Christ is in each of us, we can in fact be human beings, fully alive.
Stand In Awe: How awesome to think that we are, as Saint Irenaeus said, “the glory of God”, and we are to live and confess God in that Glory. Take a moment to think about what it means to have the glory of God in you. Look around you, sit in your garden and listen, smell, hear, see all around the glory of God in birds, grass, flowers, sky, sound. Everything proclaims the glory of God, if we pause to see it.
Barbara Brown Taylor talks about this in her book An Altar in the World. She notes, “the last place most people look [for God] is right under their feet, in the everyday activities, accidents, and encounters of their lives.” She suggests letting yourself get lost and get out of the daily routines of the same routes. When you do, you “agree to become aware of each step you take, tuning all of your senses to exactly where you are and exactly what you are doing.”
Involve your Heart: “Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory” says the Lord’s Prayer doxology. Take some time to be really aware of God all around you. Get off the normal, beaten path, and try a new route, or a new prayer routine, or a new version of the Bible.
Write the word ‘Glory’ or ‘Power’ or ‘Kingdom’ in the center of a paper. Add words or images that come to mind when you think of that word.
Color the tree of life image from Pinterest in this blog, or find your own image, and think about what being the Glory of God means to you.This week focus on “Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever”. Next week, we will take a quick look at ‘Amen’.