Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Lord's Prayer

I'm going to get spiritual.  Calm yourselves.

The Lord's Prayer is something that as a kid I worked hard to memorize.  I didn't do it because it was important to my faith or because I understood the meaning I did it because I felt awkward  not knowing the words and I felt that if I had it memorized that I would fit in better.  Oh the mind of a kid in 6th grade.

I was well into my adulthood when the meaning of the story of the last supper and the Lord's Prayer finally clicked for me.  Hold the phone... Jesus was a real person (unlike Santa) and these are words that came out of his mouth.  Whoa.   I'm pretty sure this was my exact thought.  Granted, Jesus likely didn't speak English and thus what we have today is a translation.  Regardless, when I think about that it really says, for me it holds some very powerful concepts.

I've often thought that if I was ever to write a book it would be a book for kids explaining what the Lord's Prayer means.  The thing that holds me back other than time is that I don't think of myself as qualified to comment or interpret something to integral to the Christian community.  I mean, who am I but a sarcastic gal with a biting sense of humor?   Who knows, I might do it anyway and run it by my liturgical friends.

The thing about The Lord's Prayer (TLP)  for me is that the meaning of it hits home in different ways.  At first it was the idea that it is a connection between Jesus and my modern world in the same way that when I read a passage from Shakespeare I find it amazing that those actual words were spoken 400 years ago by far better people than me.  It may sound silly, but saying TLP and forming the same words is connective for me.

I find that aspect of it interesting because while I am attracted to the Jesus story, my spirituality is with God and not a specific person in the Bible.  I always thought that the attention given to the Mary's by the Catholic faith was odd, but the Lutheran's and Presbyterians do the same thing with Jesus.  I guess we need the actual people to relate to instead of a "dude on a cloud". Anywho, just a tangent.

Life is happening all around us.  There is joy, there is sorrow, there is excitement and boredom.  Life goes on and on and on.  There are times when passages of TLP don't mean anything, and others when they speak to me deeply.

Over the course of the last year the line "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others" struck me as really appropriate.  I've lost a friend and the forgivenessneeded in that scenario is layered.  I need to forgive her for her opinion of me.  I need to forgive myself for my part in the death of our friendship.  I need to know that the transformation of our friendship from an active part of my life to someone whom I read about on Facebook is how life works and that is ok.  I mourn it but I forgive the hurt I feel.  (Pretty sure Jesus doesn't care about Facebook - but you get my meaning.)

Today, that same line spoke to me differently.  Forgiveness.  I send out prayers of forgiveness for the families  in Connecticut who I can't imagine how they are functioning.  I pray that they are able to find forgiveness and that it helps heal their sorrow.  I don't mean straight up "no harm no foul" type forgiveness, but I hope in time they are able to let go of any anger or hate this terrible event has brought to them.  I pray that the next person who is out in our world who is contemplating a similar act can find forgiveness and it eases whatever is driving them towards a dark act.

I also see for the first time that the line 'thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" isn't a statement that our earthly place is so great and amazing, but a plea for a change in our world.  It's an acknowledgement that life is rough and influenced by more than this omnipotent and benevolent being.  It isn't God's will that this young man took the lives of these people - I don't believe that God was anywhere in that act. This line implies our hope that "God's will" is peaceful and good and wishing for that in our real live world.

I do pray for those families.  I pray that they are able to heal in a way that I don't think I could.  I hope they have people who will help pick them up and that the learn how to live in this new world. I hope we never see this type of event again (but accept that it likely will.)

I pray/hope (it is the same thing for me) that we learn something and that the people who use this terrible event to further their own agenda know how much they are hurting us.

I hope that even if you aren't a spiritual person that you are able to find comfort and peace in your own way throughout these terrible events.

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