Please scroll down to read the Rector Writes for February 2019.
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 11, verses 1 to 4, we read these both familiar and powerful words –
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [the Baptist] taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
You no doubt recognise this prayer, albeit it reads a little different to how we usually pray it!
In particular the doxology (ending) of the Lord’s Prayer that we are familiar with is not found in the Bible – it originates from the “Didache” (Teaching) – a first or second century work whose authorship was considered questionable (it was attributed to the Twelve Apostles) and so it was not considered to be Scripture – even so this is where we find the earliest and shorter doxology, “for yours is the power and the glory forever”.
Lent begins this month on 6th March (Ash Wednesday). In the New Testament Jesus took forty days in the desert to prepare for his adult ministry in Galilee and Jerusalem. Following this example Christians for centuries now, have taken the forty days during which the days “lengthen” in the run up to Easter, to better study and practice their Faith – often today we do this in the form of a Lent Course.
For our Lent Course this year, we are going to look at “Faith through The Lord’s Prayer”.
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that in Luke’s gospel Jesus taught his disciples to pray. For two millennia Christians have prayed this “Christian treasure” of a prayer. Today – with its doxology – we continue to pray it every week in church on a Sunday. We also use it in a baptism service, a wedding, and a funeral. You may have prayed it in school. You may pray it today at home or even at work.
In Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 8:9-15) the Lord’s Prayer is given as a model for prayer too.
Jesus says in Luke, “When you pray, say…” but in Matthew, Jesus says, “This then is how you should pray…”. If you have ever wondered ‘how to pray’ then the Lord’s Prayer is probably the best part of the Bible that we can turn to.
Every type of prayer that we use – be they set prayers written for us – or prayers of our own that we pray freely and instantly in our own conversations with God – I suspect that these prayers near always contain aspects of the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us different ways to pray and different things that we can pray for. It gives us a way to confidently talk to God too.
Steven Croft, the Bishop of Sheffield – whose study material we will be using – introduces the Lord’s Prayer like this – He writes:
God is approachable. Prayer is something anyone can do. You don’t have to use complicated words or flowery language. God isn’t swayed by arguments or by length or by skill in prayer. Here [in the Lord’s Prayer] are some words you can say, but here also is a deep pattern for prayer. Here is way of seeing God and the world and yourself which is profound and revolutionary and good news.
Why not join us for our Lent Course? We will begin on Monday 11th March at 7:30pm in the church hall. We are usually a group of 20-25. There will be a wide range of people with us – from longstanding church members to those who have been with us just a few months. Do come along and give it a go. You will be made very welcome. The Lord’s Prayer has the power to speak to both the young and the old alike.
Finally, a very exciting news item… I was very pleased to announce last month in church that from the end of June we will have Gareth Erlandson with us as our new full-time Curate! We’ve included a very short piece on Gareth for you in this month’s magazine. In April’s magazine Gareth will introduce himself a little more fully. Please keep Gareth in your prayers as he concludes his ordination training. Thank you.
In Christ, Adam
If you’re for Brexit or afraid of the effects of it
If you’re not into the politics ‘cos everyone’s shifty
or curious of what happens after triggering article fifty – ask yourself –
Who’s in charge? Who’s in control?
King of the castle – who plays that role?1
I cannot help but feel for Theresa May at the moment. I admire her determination to strive for what she believes is right. I admire her willingness to lead the country to Brexit when she herself voted Remain. I wonder if my heart goes out to her for being the daughter of a clergyman too? (I pray my daughter won’t become prime minister!)
I say the same about so many of our politicians at present – whether we agree with them or not – have you noticed how tired and exhausted they all look? They must be working so hard! Even Labour MP Tulip Siddiq cancelled her scheduled C-section in order to vote on the most recent Brexit deal!
I have a strong hunch that whoever would be leading the government at this time, I would be feeling compassion for right now. Whoever took up the prime minister’s office following the EU referendum I suspect was destined to find it tough and destined to have ‘no control’! We wait to see if destined to fail. Any referendum result that ends with a slim majority I imagine would be difficult for any leader or government to navigate their way through.
Here are three things that I believe we should do right now as Christians with regard to the ‘29 March’ Brexit.
Firstly, we should take an interest… Some of us are thinking – How obvious! Yet recently on the day of the no confidence vote in Theresa May as Prime Minister, I confess I opted for an FA Cup 3rd Round Replay on the telly, between of all teams, Southampton and Derby County. Former Penyffordd lad, Tom Lawrence, did score his penalty for winning Derby though!
Just as the National Assembly led to large changes in how politics is done here in Wales, Brexit is going to lead to even greater changes than Welsh devolution has resulted in. Just as Welsh devolution lessened its dependence on UK governance and laws – we are now realising how dependent the past 40+ years the UK has become on our relationship with Europe too. We need to take an interest – it’s going to affect us.
Secondly, we must pray… No one seems to be able to predict what’s going to happen. No political leader. No political party. No government. No nation. We are all uncertain about our future. We are feeling insecure and unstable. What is going to happen to trade? To the economy? To EU nationals in the UK? To Brits living out in sunny Spain? What will happen to the way our country is governed?
We don’t know. But even so we can trust God to watch over us. We can commit both the UK and Europe to God and remember that ‘when we pray, God intervenes’.
Thirdly, we should not worry… The wonderful truth of being a Christian is we trust God is ‘in control’. Even if worst case scenario our economy goes pear-shaped, we lose complete faith in politics and our relationship with Europe is gone, through the storms of life, we can still survive, maybe even thrive, and know God’s peace.
The Apostle Paul taught: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Jesus taught: Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
Who’s in charge? Who’s in control?
King of the castle – who plays that role?
He doesn’t reside in Downing Street
He’s the one who grew up to wash his disciples feet
He doesn’t sit in the Oval Office
He rules the Holy Office2
1,2 Dai Woolridge in his The Holy Office – https://spoken-truth.com/holy-office/
Rev Adam Pawley