Going to the deep waters of the Lord's Prayer

Going to the deep waters of the Lord's Prayer

By Shawn Koester (as Kwana Rosca)

Delivered at the First UU Church in Second Life

On Thursday, December 13th, 2007

My sermon today will focus on our relationship as UUs with the Lord's Prayer. I recognize for a lot of you that hearing about Christian tradition, or anything related to the life and teachings of Jesus may open some wounds left by those who seek to do damage. But alas this important prayer is still useful. Lets break it down word by word.

Our Father

Jesus, in his ministry sought to bring Judaism back to its prophetic stances in the tradition of Isaiah, Elijah, and the rest and in manifesting divine love. In prayer, as a itinerant rabbi, and loyal Jew saw God as directly relational, and affectionately called God "Abba" roughly translated means "Daddy" or Papa. By having Our in front indicated that God rather than being the God of one tradition, or one set of people was the source of us all. Also this first line points to God being a parent like figure who seeks to correct us, rather than to judge or damn and a God that is not exclusively male. As to put any label, or sex, or name to the eternal one would limit our perception of the imperceptible

Hallowed be thy name. Hallowing the holy one's name(s) is if anything else, an act of making sacred the Spirit. As not to use the divine name to injure or mistreat

Thy kingdom come. This line is a bit more difficult than the others as thy kingdom come often implies a reign when God will destroy others, and uplift others. And that is contrary, I believe to the divine character, and the God who Jesus had deep communion with what this line means is in scripture, Jesus teaches that heaven, or the Kingdom of God is not in a far off place, but the realm of God is within, and all around us. It is the realm of wholeness when the least among us will be able to have a voice, and be treated as worthy, a time when forgiveness, mercy, and love prevails that the welcome table includes all or in the words of Amos, "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream"

Thy will be done. Thy will be done is that often in our lives we get caught in the rut, and follow actions and decisions that are contrary to our best selves, and embracing a higher call. When Jesus was being executed at the hands of an oppressive empire for his heretical stands he said, "Your will be done, not mine" that we are to trust our conscience, our still small voice

On earth as it is in heaven that in following the call of the divine, and conscience we hope to bring about the divine will on earth as things are in the whole of creation

Give us this day our daily bread. This refers back to the time of Jewish enslavement in Egypt, and their eventual liberation. As there was not enough bread, that they hoped in God to provide them bread for sustenance. Unfortunately, we cannot just wait on God to act but we must the arms through which those who hunger, and those out on the streets will be able to have to be filled

and lead us not into temptation. This is kind of self-explanatory but this line evokes that we'll be stronger than what challenges us, and will have the strength to endure

But deliver us from evil is the deliverance of evil by challenging unjust structures, and having the strength of will to ensure liberation for all

Forgiving debts, as we forgive others is important in the struggle towards reconciliation. Often it is hard to forgive when others have harmed us, because for many of us we would like to see them get their just deserts. So by forgiving, we must be able to reconcile with ourselves before we ask forgiveness in the eyes of the eternal. Jesus and the other wisdom teachers have freely forgiven that that have harmed them, and so was deemed radical to those in power

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. This refers to back to the principles for which Jesus died, and to the God he was serving.

May we have the courage to forgive others, to love and to act freely in the name of justice and healing. Amen and Namaste.

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