I was reminded recently, via Facebook (where else!) that some sons know their fathers quite well. In the following I have deleted names to protect the innocent!
Son walks into the garage and tells his father the date proposed by his fiancée and himself for their forthcoming wedding. Father replies, ‘Bathurst (car racing) isn’t that weekend, is it?’
Son, ‘Good one, Dad!’
I smiled as I imagined the sigh from the son and expressions on their faces. Such is the stuff of a warm father and son relationship!
There is one Father and Son relationship that has existed from eternity. In this eternal relationship the Father and the Son know each other intimately. How precious the Father’s heart that speaks at Jesus’ baptism, ‘this is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17)
When the Son is asked by His disciples how they should pray/speak to the Father, we can be sure that the Son knows exactly how they should address God: ‘Our Father who is in heaven . . . ’
How astounding that the Son includes the disciples as members of the family of God!
Jesus’ teaching through this prayer is radical with far-reaching ramifications: radical in its prayerful intimacy addressed to the Transcendent Creator, Sustainer and Judge of the entire world; far reaching in its scope of ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
Significantly the Son, Jesus, knew He was leaving the disciples with a job to do and their preparation included Jesus’ answer to, ‘How do we pray?’.
Jesus replied with the Lord’s Prayer – which both Matthew and Luke place in the context of Jesus teaching his disciples.
In some ways, the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ could also be called the ‘Disciples’ Prayer’ as it was to be prayed by Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus’ prayer surely reflects His heart for His disciples’ life and ministry. Can we consider the Lord’s Prayer to understand and live more fully our discipleship in the world today? How do the phrases of this prayer help us how to view God and God’s world and to view our discipleship in God’s world: discipleship that will hallow God’s name and serve God’s kingdom purposes?
During this year I will be leading a seminar around Tasmania on Christian discipleship shaped by the Lord’s Prayer. The Seminar, ‘Christian Voices in Public Places’ will be an opportunity to grow our ability to engage with family, friends, work colleagues and community groups about contemporary issues.
Please keep your eyes out for details of the times (Saturdays) and places of the Seminar.
I was struck afresh recently by the early disciples adding a concluding phrase to the words of Jesus. The phrase is a great exclamation of praise: ‘for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours, forever and ever. Amen.’
The early disciples effectively ‘bookended’ this wonderful prayer with God: from Jesus’ commencement of intimacy, ‘Our Father’, to the disciples’ concluding exclamation of God’s power and glory. Our daily life is to be ‘bookended’ by God.
In this New Year may our days be ‘bookended’ with God!
Note: This article first appeared in the February 2015 edition of the Tasmanian Anglican.