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Saturday, May 11, 2013
Today’s Reading | Luke 11:1–13
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NRSV)
“Prelude to a Scream.” This is the title of the major work performed by the squirmy, red-faced infant in your arms. If you have ever been in this situation, you know to take action immediately. You are not angry. You do not give them ice cream or a fur coat. You may not give them anything at all, but you do pacify and tend to them. This, I think, is the relationship with God that Jesus was trying to offer the disciples.
“Teach us to pray,” they asked. It is interesting to me that our Lord did not answer in a parable. In fact, he skips any instruction and feeds them a concise, ready-for-memorization prayer. This prayer sets up and sums up the essence of Christ’s teaching.
“Our Father.” Well there it is: the invitation and explanation of the relationship with God. Every human on this planet has parents. The primal instinct to reach out to those people exists in all of us long before we can reason or communicate.
“Our . . . us . . . we . . .” I think the pronouns used in this prayer transcend the fact that the request was made on behalf of all the disciples. For me, the power of the prayer is in its corporate nature. Could it be that our Lord encourages us to pray and praise together?
“. . . as we forgive each other.” Just as Jesus lays out our parent-child relationship with God, he moves on to define our relationship with each other. Can it be clearer? “Love the Lord your God,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Lord, thank you for providing all that we need, and allowing the daily exams of our lives to be taken “Open Book.” Amen.
Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth
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