27th January 2021

Today we have the first of a two-part reflection on the Lord’s Prayer. The second part is scheduled for 17th February.

In the Brexit discussions the idea of sovereignty – under whose rule do we live – was prominent, but we wait to see if political action will bring change or whether the economics of the exercise will prove otherwise.

The idea of sovereignty is prominent in the Lord’s Prayer, right from its opening petitions to the final doxology with its splendid affirmation – ‘Yours are the kingdom, the power and the glory’ – the right to rule, with the ability to make that effective with an outcome which brings fulfilment to all.

Three opening petitions reinforce one another indicating how our humanity should align with God’s purposes; first, ‘Hallowed be your name’.  The need to respect the name of God is well placed especially in an age in which careless speech abounds. For the Jews, the name of God embraced God’s character and purpose, so it is hallowed not only by word but by action, something made even more explicit in the second and third petitions: ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven’.  The kingdom is to be established by God’s grace but here we are invited to become kingdom people, doing what we can to promote its interests.

But the prayer has a note of gritty realism in it, for there are contrary forces, hostile to divine rule, here identified as Temptation, Evil and Sin and so the prayer is for guidance, deliverance and forgiveness, praying for God’s rule in our lives and in our world. And the Amen comes because His indeed ‘are the kingdom, the power and the glory’, whilst even in the midst of the present pandemic we can see in every act of sacrifice and kindness the coming of the kingdom.

John Briggs