I continue looking at prayers that have both pulled me and others through personal trials and struggles. In the last several posts I have looked at the Lord’s Prayer itself.
Here are the words of the Lord’s Prayer, as included in my United Church of Christ Book of Worship:
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For this is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
As I was thinking about the words we are reflecting on in the Lord’s Prayer, especially how it calls us to see ourselves as connected with others, so that our heart’s cry is no longer simply about our own needs, I couldn’t help but think of a beautiful prayer of Jurgen Moltmann. He writes:
“When I love God I love the beauty of bodies, the rhythm of movements, the shining of eyes, the embraces, the feelings, the scents, the sounds of all this protean creation. When I love you, my God, I want to embrace it all, for I love you with all my senses in the creations of your love. In all the things that encounter me, you are waiting for me.
For a long time I looked for you within myself and crept into the shell of my soul, shielding myself with an armour of inapproachability. But you were outside – outside myself – and enticed me out of the narrowness of my heart into the broad place of love for life. So I came out of myself and found my soul in my senses, and my own self in others.”
― Jürgen Moltmann,
In many ways this journey — out of the armour of innaproachability, the shells we built up to protect ourselves from pain yet which hold others & the world at bay — is the one the Lord’s Prayer invites us to go on.
How have you experienced this liberating journey? How do you invite others to do the same?
Let us open ourselves to the call. Though it is frightening to become open and vulnerable to others, to this world, even to God and ourselves, especially when our life is broken and hearts hurting, ultimately that is the path that leads to wholeness. Let us engage it together.
Your progressive redneck preacher,