Jesus: Lynne, c'mon! (He is slapping his hand on the raft, my "safe place.") C'mon. Sit down. You love this place. I do too. (part of me is annoyed. This is my place. I ask Him to come to my raft. Not the other way around.)
Me: You're distracting me. I need to worry. There are some things I am wrestling with.
Jesus: (grinning towards a full on smile) Oh, you just plop yourself down. Look out over the water. Isn't it satisfyingly lovely?
Me: It is. But what to do?
Jesus: It is not time.
Me: Not time?
Jesus: It is not time to figure anything out. You and me, let's just sit here and enjoy.
Jesus: Repeat after me, Lynne.
Our Father who is in heaven...
Me: Our Father who is in heaven...
(my eyes roll...wind whistles through this prayer, it seems so hollow, like there has to be more, like He's holding out on me)
Jesus: Hallowed be your name...
Me: Hallowed be your name...
Jesus: Your kingdom Come...
Me: Your kingdom Come...
Me: Jesus, got to be honest. This prayer baffles me. Why so brief?
Jesus: We cover the essentials.
Jesus: Let's keep going. Your will be done.
Me: Your will be done. So it's yours. Not mine, correct?
Jesus: Correct. My will, good and perfect. Hey, Lynne, we have some more things to cover. Let's keep going. On earth as it is in heaven...
Me: On earth as it is in heaven...
Me: Ok, so, wait, your kingdom come, your kingdom come into this situation I'm worried over, this angst, this sadness, and your will be done, on earth, as it IS in heaven. Woah - I'm Feeling it. Your will is always accomplished in Heaven and heaven is in order. It is where justice rules and oppression is opposed. There, everything is all right. Getting it - why wouldn't I want your kingdom to come? And I find it interesting that you have me asking for it. You love pleas and questions.
Me: Your will be done. My will wavers. Your will stands firm. It has purpose, wisdom, peace, comfort, power, stillness, activity, wonder. Why wouldn't I want your will. But why am I asking for it? Seems like you know what is best, why don't you just do it.
Jesus: Lynne, we, you and I, are in a loving relationship. I honor your choices. And when you ask me for what I have to offer you, you are loving me. And you are right, I love pleas and questions. Let's continue, you have more to ask.
Give us today our daily bread.
Me: Give me my daily bread. This seems rude.
Jesus: Rude? Not all sweet thing, you communicate love by asking me for everything, remember? And I communicate love by giving, responding. You know why this feels odd? P - R - I - D - E.... Think about it.
Me: Give us today our daily bread. Just daily? I'm not a planner but I do know my needs kinda spill over into more than one day.
Jesus: Just daily, Lynne. We want your window of worry opportunity to be minuscule. Our hope is that you will not worry when you see your needs but rather ask with intentionality. I know, Lynne, it's a lot to take in. The "daily ask" helps us narrow the time-gap.
Me: And forgive us our sins. This prayer is beginning to resemble the biggest, most powerful Shop Vac. It is suctioning up millions of details into a cavern of goodness and perfection with one big nozzle/prayer!
Me: But Jesus, shouldn't you have had us ask for forgiveness before we ask for daily bread?
Jesus: You are too human for that. I am practical. With no sustenance there is no energy. With no energy, there is no ability to ask. C'mon Lynne, You KNOW you need lots of energy to forgive. First things first.
Jesus: As we forgive those who sin against us.
Me: As we forgive those who sin against us. Interesting - you forgive me, I forgive them. The pump needs priming. And I am noticing that it is not I forgive them and then they forgive me. The focus is you forgive me and I forgive them. I guess the issue is not whether they forgive me or not, is it?! Game changer! You for me and I for them, you for me and I for them....really has a ring to it.
BUT. IT. IS. SO. HARD.
Jesus: It is hard to forgive. It is costly. But I paved the way for you. Forgiveness is what I came for, it's what I do. You represent me well when you do the same. Let's keep going. And lead us not into temptation.
Me: And lead us not into temptation. This has always confused me. I just assume you are not leading me into temptation. Why am I asking?
Jesus: Take it more like a statement. You're following it with - But deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever amen. Again, you are stating the obvious-and lead us not into temptation. I will never lead you into temptation but I will deliver you from evil-the temptation you failed to resist. You ask and I'm on it!
Me: But deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever amen. Thank you Jesus. This prayer is brilliant! And I love that you are my safe place! Nahum 1:7
And now one of my favorite artists to companion my post - my favorite Christopher Burkholder!
References for your reading pleasure: Matthew 6:5-14 and 25-34