Your kingdom come

Indeed, what are we praying for when we pronounce these absolutely unique words, “Thy kingdom come”? Above all, of course, we pray that this encounter may take place now, here, and today, in the present circumstances, that in my mundane and difficult life I could hear the words, “the kingdom is near you,” and that my life would be filled with the power and light of the kingdom, with the power and light of faith, love, and hope. Furthermore, we desire that the whole world, which so evidently lies in evil and longing, in fear and in striving, would see and receive this light, which entered the world some two thousand years ago, when at the outskirts of the Roman empire was heard that lonely, yet still sounding voice: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt. 3:2). We pray also that God would help us to not betray this kingdom, not to constantly fall away from it, not to sink into the engulfing darkness, and that finally, this kingdom of God would come in power, as Christ says.

–Alexander Schmemann, Our Father

The Marvel of the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer in particular is a marvel of compression, and full of meaning. It is a compendium of the gospel (Tertullian), a body of divinity (Thomas Watson), a rule of purpose as well as of petition, and thus a key to the whole business of living. What it means to be a Christian is nowhere clearer than here.

–J.I. Packer, Growing in Christ

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer

Let us therefore, brethren beloved, pray as God our Teacher has taught us. It is a loving and friendly prayer to beseech God with His own word, to come up to His ears in the prayer of Christ. Let the Father acknowledge the words of His Son when we make our prayer, and let Him also who dwells within in our breast Himself dwell in our voice. And since we have Him as an Advocate with the Father for our sins, let us, when as sinners we petition on behalf of our sins, put forward the words of our Advocate. For since He says, that “whatsoever we shall ask of the Father in His name, He will give us,” how much more effectually do we obtain what we ask in Christ’s name, if we ask for it in His own prayer!

from Treatise 4: On the Lord’s Prayer

Published in: on January 16, 2013 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Reformed Catholicity

One of the great legacies of Dr. Jelle Faber, Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary’s first principal and dogmatics professor, was the plea for the church to maintain a robust reformed catholicity, along the lines of the creeds:  “one holy catholic and apostolic church” (I can still hear him enthusiastically reciting these words as he sped his way through the Sunday afternoon liturgy). Even though I never had the privilege of being his student in seminary, his preaching, public lectures, and writings left a deep impression on me since I was a boy, and have influenced my own preaching and teaching and pastoral ministry (including his habit of always including the Lord’s Prayer at some point in the Lord’s Day service). I guess that’s part of the reason that much of what James K. A. Smith writes here resonates with me.