Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. It might sound trite, but it is true. One little fuse pops and my little Mazda pickup doesn’t run, its just a little thing no bigger than my thumbnail… ok I have big thumbs but hang with me here… but without it my truck is only so much metal and plastic sitting in my driveway.
Today I was working through the “book of faith – Lenten Journey” many at St. John are using as a corporate (big word but I use it on purpose, you’ll see!) devotional and the focus was on small words. In life, in the reading of scripture we often focus on big words, words in large quantities; books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, paragraphs, sentences, phrases and then the big words themselves draw our attention.
But it is the small words that often do the heavy lifting in our verb-age. In this case it is the word “our” as in Our Father… Our is a small word, I know the Lord’s Prayer in two other languages, ok, they are similar languages, but they are different… Norwegian and Icelandic. The Norsk version starts out “Fader vår” and the Icelandic is “Faðir vor” similar, but the point is a little three letter word in each of these languages. Icelandic Our Father
Vår, vor, our… it is a small word that is laden with implications. Our is the possessive form of we, another very small word, that expresses a commonality, a bond between two or more people.
We pray “Our Father…” “If God is our Father, then God is not only my Father.” It is a corporate prayer, in other words a prayer that is never prayed alone, even if you are, in fact, all by your self.
In praying Our Father, we recognize that we are all part one big very unique family with all the joys and struggles that brings. In the devotional I felt it stressed that this should bring us some kind of unity as we seek to be responsible for each other. I do in fact understand that point, but I also feel that it explains allot of our behavior that isn’t quite so loving.
Now, I grew up in a wonderful family, great parents and siblings, but, ummm… things are not always smooth in these relationships. But I do think think this sence of family does help in understanding our lives and our lives of faith. Yes, God is “Our Father” but that doesn’t mean we are all one big happy family skipping down a yellow brick road with rainbows over our heads on the way to OZ. Families; love, live, fight, fuss, struggle, forgive and learn each day. But it is something that we do in relationship, there is no way to be family all on your own, it is always OUR family.
There are no first person pronouns in this prayer either. The Lord’s Prayer can never be “my prayer” it is always “our prayer” in this way we need to remember that we are created to be in relationship, to God and with eachother. Even as we pray this prayer in times of our individual need, there is a sence of community here. We are not alone, we pray this prayer not only on our behalf but on behalf of all our brothers and sisters and yes even all of creation itself.
Oh, and yes, the weather came today… it slushed out.. about 3 inches. Not snow, not rain, not ice, slush… tomorrow morning might be a real treat!