Sunday, July 28, 2019 – Pentecost 7

July 28, 2019  

Pentecost 7 2019

Our Savior’s La Crosse

Luke 11:1-10

We need God.

Let’s be honest with ourselves; our need for God brings us to church week after week, for some of us year after year.

Notice what I am NOT saying. I am not saying “I need God.”

I am making a corporate statement. I am naming the needs of the community.

We need God.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus didn’t teach them a prayer to use in private moments. Jesus did not teach them a prayer for individual supplication. Jesus taught them a prayer for them to pray together.

“Our Father…”

I know, in Luke the reading begins simply with “Father” (Luke 11:2). But there is a footnote added to scholarly texts, noting that “Ancient authorities read “Our Father in heaven” (NRSV).

“Our Father…”

I don’t often use gender specific language for God, but I cannot escape it here. Jesus is being quite specific with his word “Abba.”

“Our Father…”

Our God.

In our prayer we as a community ask for three things:

That God give us each day our daily bread (Luke 11:3).

That God forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4)

That God not bring us to the time of trial (Luke 11:4), aka lead us not into temptation.

We ask for bread to eat. We ask for forgiveness. We ask for deliverance from evil.

We ask together. We ask as a community when we pray “Our Father.”

When I take communion to people who have memory loss, I am never surprised by their memories of our words of corporate confession, and I am never surprised when they join with me, word for word, as we say the Lord’s Prayer together. If we say those words often enough, they become a part of who we are, as if they are tattooed on our hearts.

“Our Father, who art in heaven… hallowed be thy name.”

Our God, your name has been sanctified. Our God, your name has been made holy.

God’s name is holy here, in this community as we gather… as we pray. Just as God’s name is holy in every community of faith around the world as they pray the words we have all been taught to pray: Our Father…

Think about this:

The kingdom, the power and the glory are God’s!

Our prayer is a declaration as much as it is a request.

All of this… all of this is yours, God.

You have power in our lives, God.

To you is the glory, now and forever, Abba.

We need God. We know we need God.

This community of faith is built on our knowing that we need God.

This community of faith is built on our knowing that we need God to provide daily bread, not just for us but for all people.

This community of faith is built on our knowing that we need God to forgive us our sins, not just today but every day of our lives.

This community of God is built on our knowing that we need God to turn us toward God, to turn our hearts and minds toward God; we need God to deliver us from evil.

Now think about this:

The Lord’s Prayer might be one of the only things we have in common with every person who ever has, who ever does, whoever will know themselves as followers of Jesus. There are so many traditions associated with Christianity that are variable—we sing different songs, we dance or we don’t, we sit and stand or just sit or just stand, we read scriptures that have been translated by different scholars to mean different things, we focus on different aspects of scripture, we have different understandings of who God was and is and will be, we even share communion according to our traditions and cultures. But the Lord’s Prayer has a basic framework that is common to us all. We may or may not end it in the same place and we may or may not use contemporary forms. But the claims and the requests and the corporate character of the prayer has been, is, and always will be the same.

The Lord’s Prayer ties us to other believers more than just about any other aspect of our faith.

Which makes the words of the prayer sacred. The words of our prayer are holy.

The words of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples are a sacred gift given to us all.

And so I pray:

Abba, thank you for teaching us to pray.