Friday, 30 July 2010

Thinking about the Lord's Prayer: "Our" Father

When we begin the Lord’s Prayer with the word ‘our’ it says automatically that it is about us, not me or you separately as disassociated beings but us together. In this our faith is not a private matter between you as an individual and God but is an engagement in communal life.

The prayer confronts us with our own relationships and the gift that we have from God that together we have been joined into one family. Just as Paul wrote to the Romans so long ago when we say ‘our’ we affirm that:

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17)

Of course this why in early Christian communities and even now today Christians speak of each other as brothers and sisters. We have an intimate relationship – a relationship as siblings which has been given to us as a gift.

For just as we do not chose our biological brothers and sisters our brothers and sisters in Christ are given to us as a gift.

Take a moment to think how brothers and sisters behave towards one another. To pretend it is always good would be naïve but often the conflict arises out of that intimacy. Of course, I do not believe that God’s intention in binding us as brothers and sisters is to have us squabbling, but through acknowledging our intimacy to acknowledge our shared responsibility for one another in the context of our relationship with God – “Our Father”.

In this when we say ‘our’ we should hear a common bond with each other and responsibility to each other as people who share in God’s grace.

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