Secondary Source: The Sermon on the Mount: A Beginners Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven Dr. Amy-Jill Levine Abingdon Press 2020
Thesis: The Lord’s Prayer are the living words of Jesus that grow with us, just as we grow with them.
Remember What We’ve Built:
- People should know we are disciples because they see God more fully through us and our actions.
- Public prayer and giving should point to God’s presence. Private prayers can point to ourselves when no one is watching except God.
- Saltiness amplifies what is already there, just as our best actions amplify God for those who’ve not yet met God.
- The meaning of the Lord’s Prayer changes throughout our life. For example, we are not in the same spiritual or intellectual place as we were in adolescence.
- Jesus’ prayer also changes meaning in context. As we pray it together in public, we take comfort through strength in the gathered community. Likewise, our community transcends time as we join in reciting the familiar words with ancestors through the generations.
- Said in private, the living words of the Lord’s Prayer provide a different perspective, comfort, and spiritual meaning.
- Even specific words or phrases can be differently interpreted or change in meaning and depth over time. For instance, addressing God as “Our Father” evokes all the positive images of paternity present in the Old Testament. The address also unites humanity in common kinship as God’s beloved children.
- However, not everyone has positive images of paternity. For those born and raised in broken or abusive homes, addressing God as Father can be complicated at best. But understanding these dynamics can aid in our quest to empathetically love one another as ourselves.
- Perhaps more than anything, the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer of discernment: we are challenged to consider what God wants for our lives….. just as we are expressing what we want from God.
- And even if our understanding of these words might change throughout our lives, we still believe that God is God. Although affected by our prayers in some mysterious form and fashion, God is eternally merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
- God gave us these words as a gift and with a purpose. The Lord’s Prayer are the living words of Jesus which grow with us, just as we grow with them.
Call to Action and Response: Pray the Lord’s prayer morning, noon, and night. As you pray at different times, in different places, and under different circumstances, deeply reflect on the meaning of particular words and phrases in that moment. How has your understanding of the Lord’s Prayer changed and been shaped over a lifetime?