Kingdom, power and glory

Have you ever wondered where the words

“For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever”

in the Lords Prayer, the Our Father, originate?

I did up until recently.  I was puzzled as to why it is different from the Bible and during a recent bible study through the Pilgrim course I found out why.

It turns out the early church added the words after the prayer Jesus taught became more widely used.  The context is the end of David’s life after the preparation of everything for the building of the temple.

David’s Praise to God

10 Then David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly; David said: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, for ever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name.

14 ‘But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill-offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.

1 Chronicles 29:10-14 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

There’s a couple of things to take note of in this verse too:

  • ‘All the assembly’ refers to all of the gathered people of God in the temple – everyone was there!
  • ‘Blessed are you O Lord’ is an ancient Jewish way of beginning prayer, which is still used today in many prayers.

I discovered a deeper understanding and attachment to the Lords Prayer throughout the time we studied it.

Take some time and look at each line of the prayer, what does it mean to you?

Which part of the Our Father stands out the most or is most relevant to your right now?

Advertisements

The Lords Prayer in the Bible

The Lords Prayer, as Jesus taught us to pray, is found in two of the Gospels in the New Testament. It appears in both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.

First the appearance in the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 6:9-13 New International Version (NIV)

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

And the appearance in the Gospel of Luke:

Luke 11:2-4 New International Version (NIV)

He said to them, “When you pray, say:“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

Footnotes
[a] Luke 11:2 Some manuscripts Our Father in heaven
[b] Luke 11:2 Some manuscripts come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
[c]Luke 11:4 Greek everyone who is indebted to us
[d] Luke 11:4 Some manuscripts temptation, but deliver us from the evil one

 

 

The Lords Prayer

We restarted our weekly bible study at cafe church following on from the busy Christmas period with the second instalment of the Pilgrim course – the Lords Prayer.

To start, here are the two versions that you come across in a worship service, use at home, in work or elsewhere.

Traditional Version

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen

Contemporary Version

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on  earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but delivery us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen

I grew up to learn and use the traditional language version of The Lords Prayer. It always makes me giggle a bit when, if I’m in a prayer group, either myself or someone else forgets we’re reading the contemporary version and slots in thy or says trespass instead of sin. Years of use makes me switch automatically into the traditional version without batting an eyelid, and it’s made me feel extremely conscious of which version is being used, especially in church or in groups. I have become more accustomed to the contemporary version over time, and I feel comfortable with it these days, it is just that habits are learnt and difficult to break and we have a tendency to revert, or if you like, run back to the things we feel more comfortable with.

[I will attempt to catch up with my blog to ensure I get all my thoughts together for future use and to create the writing habit that needs reviving.]

Pilgrim IV: Belief in the Holy Spirit

I enjoy talking about the Holy Spirit at church, there are many varied experiences and views of how it has had an effect on people and influences our lives.  Before looking at the well-known passage below, we were all encouraged to share how or when we have experienced the presence of God in our lives.

This section of the Pilgrim course focused on Acts 2:1-4

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 2:4 Or languages; also in verse 11

Reflection included:

  • What comes to mind when you hear the words Holy  Spirit?
  • Why do you think it was so important to early Christians?
  • Do you experience the presence of God today? Would you call on the Holy Spirit?

This, of course, is not the first time we’ve looked at the Holy Spirit during Bite Nites, and certainly not the first time we’ve looked at what happened during Pentecost in relation to it.

To put it into context, we’re in the middle of one of the largest celebrations (if not one of the longest running festivals of all time).  People are arriving from many different places and countries, and there are many different languages and dialects being spoken among the people. in situations like that, we’re all too aware that misunderstandings are easy to arise.  It is not only the language but also the cultural differences, expression, slang, mannerisms among others that cause us problems when we communicate.

The marvellous event to follow, happened to all of the disciples gathered in the room; not just a chosen few. Imagine their delight when they realised that what they were saying was being understood by people who previously could not understand them.  There must have been so many problems communicating before this, taking a long time for understanding to be communicated and at times missed altogether.

Now that they were able to communicate across the language barrier with ease, that everything they’d had difficulty in expressing in other languages can suddenly be expressed simply because the person hearing them can understand them, must have been an exhilarating experience.  You can almost sense the joy and happiness radiating from their very core.  It’s no wonder some of the onlookers thought they were drunk; they would have been under the influence of extreme happiness with not a drop of alcohol in sight.

There were other opinions too, people who refused to believe their eyes or their ears, and those who thought it was magic at work, or a trick to deceive them; but for those who trust in what they were seeing, and in what they were hearing this is truly miraculous and will have changed their lives forever.  Imagine being there, witnessing this for yourself; how could you refuse to believe in the love of God, His word, His son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

I have to admit that I have admiration for anyone who is multilingual.  I am attempting to learn a few languages myself and I can appreciate how much effort you will have put into learning to be fluent in more than one language.  I was enormously pleased with being able to use the Hebrew phrase Ze Beseder in work today; one of my colleagues told me he’d had some ginger biscuits from the tin on my desk; I believe it was an appropriate way of saying it’s ok and it made me pleased too as he told me I said it correctly (despite my pause to mentally rehearse saying it).

It’s good to talk 🙂

Dear Father, God in Heaven,
We thank you for providing us with skills,
with an ability to communicate
and with patience to learn.
Assist us in using those skills
to cross the walls we surround ourselves with.
Help us to break down all our barriers,
to use your gifts so that we too can share your word
and demonstrate your work among us.
Grant us a bridge over our cultural differences,
that we might find peace in all our lives
and make all that is built by mankind good in your eyes.
Let us see past the limits that we put on ourselves,
and help us to recognise your Holy Spirit residing within each of us
and truly see the gifts you bestow on us all;
that we may serve you faithfully,
in truth, with all our heart,
with all our mind
and with all our body.
This we pray, guided by your Holy Spirit
and in the name of Jesus Christ,
your son, 
our saviour and Lord

Amen

Pilgrim III: Belief in Jesus

This session of the Pilgrim course looks at Mark 1:4-11.

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with[a] water, but he will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 1:8 Or in
  2. Mark 1:8 Or in

This is all about looking more closely at who Jesus is, in particular, our views as we were asked to write a tweet (original size) about who Jesus is.   I think I wrote something along the lines of “Jesus is my friend, my brother, my past, my present and my future”; symbolising that he is always with me and the close relationship I have regained.

There’s also a trend to these pilgrim sessions, they all relate to the part of the baptism and confirmation services where we declare (or is declared on our behalf when you’re a baby) our Profession of Faith.

  • Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
  • Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

Can you guess what Pilgrim IV is going to be about?

After reading the passage above, we were asked what we think might have surprised and challenged the people at the time or for ourselves.

I like the fact that even though John declared he was not worthy to serve Jesus, Jesus still came to John and asked him for baptism. Jesus, who has no sin, is asking John, who baptised people for repentance of sin, to baptise him.

Surprised? You should be, John was!

He was well aware of who Jesus was, and that his baptism by water was no match for Jesus baptising people with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus did not need to be baptised, but this simple act sets the scene for how Jesus relates to the rest of humanity, taking the sin of our human nature and delivering us from it,

I always find it fascinating that we are often surprised by how God does things.  It is a challenge, in ourselves, to accept how some things are done.  In the same way, the people of Israel had enough time to create many preconceived ideas of what their messiah would be like, what he would achieve, how he would drive the Romans out of Israel at the head of the army, and so on.

I think they got a massive surprise!

Note: Jesus did eventually conquer the Romans; just not in the way that was expected of him at the time.

He did not apply brute force, Jesus did not lead an army, he did not wield a sword. He did it all with the word of God, by showing us all how to be righteous in the eyes of God, by freeing us all from sin and allowing us all to share in Gods glory.

He did all of this through his life, death and resurrection. For me, for you, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your co-workers, the strangers that cross your path.

Lord God,
thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our saviour.
Thank you for allowing us to build our relationship with you through Jesus,
He is our light in our darkness, our ship on our endless sea,
the calm in the storms of life, the peace in our tranquillity,
and, through his most precious sacrifice, the forgiveness of our sins.

Amen

Pilgrim II: Belief in God the Father

Our second session of the pilgrim course focused on Hosea 11:1-4

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a]
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 11:2 Septuagint; Hebrew them

We were asked to reflect on three things:

  1. A time when we felt deeply loved.
  2. What kind of images come to mind when you hear God described as being a father.
  3. Anything we find confusing about the image of God as a father.

People recounted times when they were being cared for by family and by friends, in sickness, acceptance in social events, when we acknowledge our love for each other, and reciprocation of love.  There are many times when we feel deeply loved, but I suspect we have a tendency, as humans, to take it as granted that we are loved and often don’t spend enough time returning that love; which is also a reflection of our relationship with God.  We don’t spend enough time on our relationships because of other factors, especially when we put our own desires before those of others.

In terms of God the Father, I see kindness, strength, firmness (when required), guidance, nurturing and other typical fatherly traits,  The classic imagery brought to mind within the verse above is that of a father holding the arms of an infant to prevent them from falling whilst they are learning to walk for themselves.

This can seem at odds with the image of a vengeful or angry God and especially some of the imagery in the Old Testament, for instance, the plagues visited upon the land of Egypt or the destruction wrought in His name (e.g. removal of kingdoms).  It can also be at odds with our vision of God sitting on a throne.  Our initial thoughts about Kings are not usually of them acting like fathers, but of conquerors and aloof, separate from their people.  My counter here is that kings have heirs to their kingdom, princes and princesses, and those heirs will learn a lot from their king (and his trusty advisors). God is our Father, our Lord, Jesus our King, we are all heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, with that knowledge in our hearts we must also learn what little we can from God so that we may be suitable heirs.

Romans 8:17

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I think it’s important to remember that God is all of the imagery above.  Whose father would not go out of their way to do as much as they can for their children?

Trust in God, believe in Him, and you can take comfort in His fatherly love for you.

Lord God,
thank you for the love you have of all things,
bless us so that we can grow our relationship with you
Guide us, teach us, rebuke us when you have to,
plant within us the seed of your word
so that it will grow strong in us

Amen

Pilgrim: Jesus

Our first session into the Pilgrim course (the week before writing) focused on the following passage from the bible. and what it represents to us as individuals.

John 1:35-42

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).

Footnotes:

  1. John 1:42 Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.

John the Baptist’s followers knew enough of his teachings to understand what he meant by the Lamb of God. It goes as far back as Exodus when the families used lambs blood to protect themselves from the devastation that was to befall Egypt prior to the journey through the desert.  That link between the two explains a lot about who Jesus is to those two disciples of John’s.  It brings to mind the link with God, the overall protection and safety that was offered to God’s chosen people, the sense of command and leadership reflected in history, and the enormity of the power that was demonstrated over time.

The question Jesus asks them is very open and immensely deep.

“What do you want?”

If we visualise Jesus asking us the same question … “what do we want?”.  It is not so simple a question that we can provide a simple answer to, however, their answer, while appearing simple, has a lot of depth, and is quite probably the most perfectly humble answer they could have given,

“Rabbi, where are you staying?”

They demonstrate their acknowledgement of Jesus as a teacher, and imply a request to spend time with the teacher so they might learn from him; that is hugely important as pupils in their day followed their masters everywhere (there were no shortcuts to learning) and possibly did chores in between lessons (educational reform had its good points).

NLP techniques include something called modelling. It’s a process whereby you learn from someone that you admire, want to be like, that possesses traits, skills, and techniques that you wish to acquire.  You model yourself after that person, by doing what they do.  In a sense this is precisely what the disciples have asked to do, but in their time, acquiring knowledge involved being where their model is, at all times, which in this case means being around Jesus throughout the day; listening, watching, absorbing everything and anything that is offered so that you can model yourself off that person. 

The next key phrase here leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader as to who they believed Jesus to be; after a short time of following him.

“We have found the Messiah”

It needs several exclamation marks on that.

“We have found the Messiah!!!”

It’s such a powerful phrase.

People were waiting for the Messiah, living in hope and now they’d found him. I can imagine Andrew rushing around looking for Simon until eventually, he finds him.  I see him there fixing something under a wooden awning, in the shade at the side of a building and you can almost sense the unbridled joy in Andrews’ voice as he trundles up, finds him there and persuades him to come to see; it’s virtually bursting out of him.  The enthusiasm, the happiness, the pure unadulterated innocence of joy.

When was the last time you had something so joyous you had to share it that if you didn’t, it’d literally bubble up inside and burst out of you?

Lord, today we have seen one perspective of who Jesus is.
We know how much he meant to his early followers,
and the joy they felt in finding him
and acknowledge that he is the Messiah.

Grant to us all the same joy in finding our way to Jesus,
so that we too may learn of him, of your word
and share in your wisdom.
For in learning more about Jesus we also learn of you
and build a strong foundation for our relationship with you
through Jesus Christ, our saviour.

Amen.