Lent PrayerLord’s Prayer I –  Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

 Opening Meditation

Opening Meditation:  Musical meditation on where is heaven for you?  What does it look like to you?
Share in groups of three or four, and see what the different views look like.
1)  Heaven in scriptures
Read Genesis 1:1  –  Where or what is heaven?  380 references to heaven in OT, all showing heaven to be that other place that God dwells.
Read Matthew 3:1-2  Kingdom of heaven has come near, this is the good news Jesus calls his disciples to preach.   (Matthew will mention heaven 75 times)
Luke 17:21  –  The Kingdom of Heaven is among you.  (King James version – within you.)
God’s address is starting to change.  Make reference to awakening under Edwards where King is replaced by Governor.

Hallowing

Psalm 8 – Read and ponder what hallowing God means.
Hallowing means respecting, treating as holy. This is fundamental to our relationship with God and to all other relationships. Acknowledging the holiness, the dignity, the otherness of the other, must not be reduced to a metaphor of cringing before one who is more powerful, even if that is dressed up respectably as obeisance before the almighty. For then it reinforces the assumption that might is right and the bigger and stronger is the better. Such thinking often results in abusive relationships. Parents emulate their god. People emulate their god. The victims are disempowered. There is, however, an awe in relationships which flows from profound respect and love. It is often when we are standing on our feet face-to-face or bowed, not the one before the other, but together in service and mutual care.
Prayer is Communal
lIn v. 2b both verbs are second person plural — y’all. The prayer is intended to be communal, rather than personal. Note also the plural pronouns in the prayer: “our” and “us”

This was given as a prayer to define “us”. There seems to have been a prayer that defined the disciples of John. I would suggest that one way the prayer defines us as belonging to Jesus is not necessarily the words, but the fact that we pray it together. We pray/confess that God is “Our Father,” etc. Unfortunately, the numerous translations of this prayer has made it difficult for various Christians to pray it together without some embarrassment about some words and the length of the ending. The shift to the ecumenical translation printed in many newer hymnals has met with great resistance. It seems ironic to me that the things that God has given us for our unity in Christ: this prayer, Baptism, Holy Communion, and scriptures; have become sources of differences and even divisiveness among believers today — but that’s because each group takes them so seriously. I wish more people were aware of the differences between the two biblical accounts and the version in the Didache. These indicate that the early church felt some freedom to make minor (translational?) changes in this important prayer.

Culpepper (Luke, New Interpreter’s Bible) makes this brief comment:

… use of the first-person plural later in the Lukan prayer shows that it is still understood as the community prayer of Jesus’ disciples. Even in Luke, therefore, the prayer is not an expression of individual piety apart from the life and worship of the community.

[p. 234]

Close with meditation time on your favorite name for God.

Part II

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