Thursday, April 1, 2010

Power and Glory

Forty days and forty nights of Lenten meditations. We’ve had time to consider, internalize, write about, think about, talk about – yes, even walk about and past the Lord’s Prayer. How quiet and peaceful the Park crosses are in the early morning, even with the commuting traffic. There is a calmness about pausing before each cross. How reassuring those same crosses are in the late afternoon or early evening, when we’ve had a day without any stops, or times, for private prayer.

Surely knowing that God’s Kingdom is always there for us, forever, lets us feel the magnificent power and glory of Our Creator. Dr. Sam eloquently stated this past Sunday: we are moving this week from Celebration to Celebration. Let’s not forget Holy Week, and the reason for our rejoicing, our embracing the supremacy and strength of our God. Let’s seek his splendor and magnificence, not just this week, but forever and ever. Amen.

For Thine is the Kingdom

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Catholic wedding. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was looking forward to the swanky reception and the open bar, but that's not the greater part of what I took away from the experience.

First, all of us Protestants sat on one side of the church where we could be obvious in the fact that we didn't know how or when to cross ourselves and that we didn't know when to kneel or what to say. We shuffled from one foot to the next, admiring the the happy couple or gazing at the sanctuary with all of the saints who looked down on us benevolently.

Suddenly, the congregation began the Lord's Prayer. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian--we all looked to each other in wide-eyed hope. Here, at last, was something familiar, something we could cling to with confidence. And then we did the unthinkable: we keep speaking when everyone else fell silent.

I learned then that the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer stops at "deliver us from evil." We protestants were still going with pride: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and...(here the voices tapered to a whisper as we realized we were alone)...the glory forever. Amen."

I thought at that moment how we take anything memorized for granted. We knew the Lord's Prayer, but had we really thought about what it means to tell God: all power and glory, even this flawed earthly kingdom is Yours, forever? Of course, we know that everything belongs to God, but the ending to the Lord's Prayer--at least as we say it--affirms that we yield to God's will. That last line is basically another reminder of "Thy will be done." We are saying that all kingdoms, all power, and all glory belong to Him.

The next time you say the Lord's Prayer--and may it not be at a Catholic wedding--think about that last statement. I guarantee you can feel your heart lift at the reminder that He is in charge, not us.