Wednesday, March 6
Mr. Gary Mathews
Director of Alumni Relations
How many times have you recited the Lord’s Prayer? Likely many dozens, if not hundreds, even thousands. Yet, when spoken in unison, recitations of it sound the same – becoming more of a Lord’s Chant than a prayer. When I lead the prayer, at times I’ll stress certain words or change the cadence. But I’ve never had someone tell me, “I just loved your inflection in the prayer; it gave it a new dimension for me.”
Imagine if we were to give new dimensions to the Lord’s Prayer for different liturgical seasons, just as we adapt hymns and liturgical colors for them. In Advent we recite it joyfully, uplifting God’s holy name and God’s coming as the Christ Child to be “on earth as in heaven.” In the season of Easter, we recite it with hopeful voices, knowing that now our sins/debts/trespasses are indeed forgiven, and we are delivered from evil. In ordinary time we might use our more mundane recitation to mirror the day-to-day struggles of our life – finding bread, forgiving others, resisting temptation. During Lent, we wail the Lord’s Prayer as a song of lamentation.
Throughout our faith history, laments have been studied as characteristic of the Old Testament. Recently, theologians and biblical scholars have renewed a focus on the role of laments in the New Testament. (See Rebekah Eklund’s Jesus Wept.) We find lament in Rachel’s wailing for her children in Matthew 2, in Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus’s words on the cross, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
We can also find lament in petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, especially if used to prepare ourselves for the coming Passion and Resurrection and turning ourselves whole-heartedly toward God. God, we LAMENT constantly using thy name in less than sacred ways. We implore YOUR WILL BE DONE on earth. WE BEG our sins be forgiven. God, HELP US to forgive others. Remind us that it is not ours, but YOURS that IS the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever and ever. As well as this very minute. May it be so.
Read Matthew 2:16-18, 6:5-15
Play the media above to listen, pray with, and sing along to "The Lord's Prayer."