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Notes from the Lay Leader

Matthew 6: 9-13: “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,   your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one."

I can’t remember when I couldn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer, although I can certainly remember not understanding what it meant. I could recite the words, and was very proud of myself, even if I couldn’t explain what the words actually meant. When I was VERY young, I thought it referred to my little sister and I could use it to get her in trouble: “lead a snot into temptation.” (no).

I also remember being about eight years old and attending my grandmother’s church in Pennsylvania. I announced afterwards that THEY didn’t know the Lord’s Prayer, because they had asked God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” To my mind, the words included debts and debtors, and thePennsylvania Methodists were WRONG. I preferred the “debtors” translation, because I didn’t have any debts then, so I imagined that God would understand if I didn’t forgive people. I had a vague idea that trespassing meant walking on the neighbors’ grass, and I wasn’t always scrupulous about avoiding that. And some of the neighbors weren’t very forgiving.

Nowadays, we recite the Lord’s Prayer at every church service, and I sometimes listen to everyone around me, and notice how mechanical it sounds. The language is very beautiful and reflects how we speak today’s English. But is it really what we could be praying?

What I hear is Thy KINGDOM come. Thy WILL be done. The burden seems to be on God to bring about whatever needs to be done. But shouldn’t we be praying THY kingdom come. THY will be done? Maybe we should do something to bring this about!

(We can’t change; We’ve never done that before).

Pastors Jeremy and Kim have been preaching about the Kingdom of God, and how it’s on US to make things better right here and right now. Prayer is a part of that, of course. But praying for God to do all the heavy lifting is not going to make Big Rapids, Mecosta County, Michigan, the United States, the world, better on its own.

We ARE working to do that, through Community Meals, and packing lunches for Angels of Action, and holding Wild Wednesdays, and caring for each other in many ways. We make things better in the community through volunteering with other organizations, and improving Hemlock Park, and supporting the schools and the arts and local activities.

There is always more we can do.

Let’s each of us perform a sort of personal audit. What are we doing to promote the Kingdom of God these days? What is one more thing we can do? Let’s get to work.

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