March 2 Mid-week Lent #4 - “Thy will be done”
March 6 4th Sunday in Lent – “God Receives Sinners”
March 9 Mid-week Lent #5 - “Give us this day our daily bread”
March 13 5th Sunday in Lent -“A Forecast of the Future”
March 15 Mid-week Lent #6 - “And forgive us our trespasses”
“March 20 Palm Sunday -“The Nature of God’s Love”
March 24 M. Thursday - “Lead us not into temptation”
March 25 G. Friday - “But Deliver us from evil”
March 27 Easter Sunrise –“Alleluia Christ is risen!”
March 27 Easter Festival Service - “For Thine is the Kingdom”
During this season of Lent, we have set our focus on the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer invites us not to retreat from the world in fear and pain, to anaesthetize or indulge ourselves. The Lord’s Prayer invites us to join the struggle to see justice and peace prevail. Thus, we pray, “Thy will be done Lord.”
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to live with just enough. It teaches us not to want more. It teaches contentment, the most subversive virtue of them all. Thus, we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. This is not a prayer for more. This is a prayer only for what we need. The world encourages us to spend money in pursuit of happiness. This petition restrains our greed.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches me to live with my imperfections and the imperfections of others. There is a way to deal with the rubbish in our lives. Thus, we pray, “Forgive us our sins”. A consumer culture holds before us the image of perfection. We cannot be happy until we look like this person, live like that one. Each image is a lie. The Lord’s Prayer acknowledges human imperfection and sin, daily. The Lord’s Prayer offers a pathway to forgiveness, daily. The way of forgiveness cannot be bought. It is a gift. Grace. Grace subverts the whole culture of advertising.
The Lord’s Prayer offers a way of reconciliation. Thus, we pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” We are not meant to feud or live in hostility or rivalry. We are meant to forgive and be forgiven, to be reconciled to each other. That reconciliation happens without expensive presents, without going into debt, without credit. People are not made happy by more things. The greatest happiness comes from relationships. The key to great relationships is reconciliation and forgiveness.
The Lord’s Prayer builds resilience in the human spirit. When you say this prayer each day, you are prepared for the bad days. Thus, we pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
When we say this prayer we remind ourselves that we are not living in a Disney fairy tale, a saccharine creation of film makers where every story has a happy ending.
We are living in a real world of cancer and violence and difficulty, where we are tested, where bad things happen for no clear reason. We live in that world confident in God’s love and goodness and help even in the midst of the most challenging moments of our lives. Faith is for the deep valleys as much as the green pastures. We may not have the answers but we know that God dwells with us and in us.
The Lord’s Prayer tells us how the story ends, how this life is to be lived and lived well. Thus, we conclude the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen”. The prayer returns as it begins to the praise and glory of the living God. Our hearts return to their origin and source, the one who created us.
As we journey with the Savior through His trial, passion, vicious death and glorious resurrection pray this prayer often. Focus on the Savior, for it is His prayer. Pray in confidence knowing that each petition is heard by Him and He answers each request according to His perfect will.