Friday, September 08, 2006

Lord's Prayer reloaded - the Sermon

Earlier this year I helped set up an alternative worship experience based on the Lord's Prayer. Now I've just swapped with a colleague so I'm preaching at BCP evensong on Sunday evening and the Gospel reading is the Lord's prayer (plus extras) and I know I can't use the same kind of things because it is a different audience but I will be using some of the same inspirations - which IS appropriate as I'm sure the Holy Spirit knows what s/he/it's doing.

I'm quite lucky as I've been thinking a lot about prayer recently anyway - what with Augustine's bit the other day at morning prayer and Michael's first contemplative service last Sunday evening (which was a wonderful bit of calm in a rather hectic week) - yet the problem as always isn't what to say but what NOT to say. There are some really BIG things you can say about prayer and many pointless things too. There are things that some people will find incredibly useful and which will leave others cold.

So far I've read through a lot of things which wise people have written about prayer; Augustine, Cyprian of Carthage, Theophan the recluse (who? - that's what I thought but then he WAS a recluse so...) unfortuantely, reading all these WISE people on the subject doesn't always help

Sometimes it's easier if someone has a RUBBISH idea about something because to me that sparks me to think of something more erudite, more aposite or more inspirational. IF I read these wise words, my response is to go... "yeah.... wow.... yeah".

However having abandoned the wise words for a while I remembered somehting I had used for the Lord's prayer stations which was an exposition on the Lord's prayer by St Francis of Assisi and so I've started my own. It reminds me of when I was a teenager being advised to think of just one of the lines of the prayer whenever you said it. To focus on just one aspect fully rather than go through the routine of it all.

So, for what it's worth here is my demonstration that I'm NOT St Francis of Assisi!

Our Father
the one we know, an intimate relationship wiht one who loved us before we even knew you.
In heaven
not with us but in our home where we will one day be with you again.
Hallowed be your name
May we praise you with due honour and respect your name as special not something to be used improperly or claim your authority for our own ends.
Your Kingdom Come
What Jesus taught was right and just, may there be a time that The Love of God and neighbour becomes a reality on earth
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
May we follow your call as clearly as if we were face to face with you as the angels and departed saints are. May we give up our own ideas of what should be done and follow your way in truth.
Give us today our daily bread
Make sure we have all we need. You know what we need, Jesus told us that and yet we already knew that too. Let us have just what we need not too little or too much so that we can do your will distracted neither by pride and plenty nor by poverty and hunger
Forgive us our sins
Wipe away all that stands between us and you God; all the rubbish we fill our minds and our days with; the stuff we shove to the back because we too ashamed to look at it; the things we do to impress others or tease them or make them look smaller than ourselves
As we forgive those who sin against us
only through your strength and graceful forgiveness can we do it. God we can't forgive others unless we follow your own example of forgiveness. Help us. Give us the strength to accept people's mistakes and hurts against us.
Lead us not into temptation
we know we don't have the strength to resist every, or sometimes any, thing that pleases us but goes against you and others, God, help us to avoid places and people that lead us to that temptation and give us your grace and strength to face them when we have to
But deliver us from evil
In this world full of fear, God we see so many shadows when it is your light that shines in the darkness and is not extinguished. Help us focus on your light and see the light in others not the darkness. Lead those tempted by darkness to your light. Build trust between people on earth through us.
For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours
It's your creation and your plan, not ours; it's you who deserves praise not us; it's your kingdom we're building not one of our own design
Now and forever
For all time God, it's You; the same yesterday today and forever. No-one on earth can make that claim but you. You are there for us always
Oh yes! It's all true help me make it true in my life.

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