So Why Do we Pray Prayers of Intention and Longing as well as Pray the Prayer that Jesus Taught in our Prayers as a People.
Luke 11: 1-6
Jesus was in a place praying, and when Jesus had finished one of his followers said, “Lord teach us to pray just as John taught his followers”. Jesus said, “say this when you pray. Abba, may your name be held holy, may your kingdom come, give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.
Luke 11: 9-13
Later Jesus taught, “so I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives, the one who searches always finds, the one who knocks will always have the door opened for what parent among you would hand a child a stone when the child asks for bread, or give the child a snake instead of a fish, or hand a child a scorpion when the child asks for an egg. If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will Abba in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
Stories from our ancestors in the faith.
So why, when we gather as a faith community on Sundays, why do we pray prayers of intention and longing and include in our prayers as a people, “the prayer that Jesus taught.”
So Why Do we Read the Bible as Stories from Our Ancestors in the Faith
Anxious to justify himself, a lawyer asked Jesus “who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “a man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. The robbers beat him, took all that he had, and left him half-dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place, saw the man, and passed on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon the man was moved with compassion when he saw him. The Samaritan went up, poured oil and wine on the man’s wounds and bandaged them. The Samaritan then lifted the man on his own donkey, escorted him to an inn and looked after him. The next day, the Samaritan took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper saying “look after him and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have”. Jesus then asked the lawyer, “which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer responded, “the one who took pity on him.” Jesus said, “go and do likewise.”
A story from our ancestors in the faith.
So why do we read the Bible as “stories from our ancestors in the faith”.
This question is a part of our ongoing effort to deepen our understanding and experience of our spirit practices here at First United. This effort is one that respects our diversity while at the same time honours our collective story as a community of faith.
So Why Do We Light the Christ Candle
A Reading from Luke 9:18-22
Now one day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of the disciples, Jesus put this question to his followers, “Who do the crowds say I am? The disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and yet others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.” Jesus asked a second question, “But you, who do you say I am”. It was Peter who spoke up and said “The Christ of God”. Jesus gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.
Listen to this story from our ancestors in the faith.
So why do we light the Christ Candle each Sunday?
Over the past week or two, I have been asking people this question and I have been fascinated with the responses. All good and thoughtful responses, yet diverse, as people use different language to describe a sense of groundedness and connectedness, that connection with sacred mystery, that connectedness with something “bigger” than us as well as the wonder of the connection that happens when we say “we are not alone”.
For some this is their favourite part of the service
I have been fascinated by the commonality of experience as well as fascinated by the diversity in describing the experience.
This Easter season, we are doing a series of services where we are taking time to reflect on “why we do what we do”. Most of us understand intuitively “why we do what we do”, but over the past few months our church leadership heard about a longing, a desire for some language that would help us deepen our understanding and deepen the experience of our spirit practices. So we are going to try to do that.