A friend of mine reminded me the other day how communal the Lords prayer is. It is filled with the words “Our” and “Us”.
We know that the Spirit of God is at work when there are more signs of community, mutual understanding, and a turning towards God and one another in peace.
This echoes of the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that “we might be one”.
One doesn’t mean uniformity.
One doesn’t mean we agree.
To live out the Lord’s Prayer is about attending to our spiritual lives and worldly, embodied realities. It means that we seek to become people who follow Christ with our words, actions, and attitudes.
Sadly, we are so polarized in our country and filled with a sense of contempt for the “other side”.
But since we are children of the Light, we keep seeking a deep and abiding intimacy with Jesus.
This might look something like this:
- Lamenting. This is about sharing our grief, losses, and brokenness. Think Psalm 51 and moments of the prophets crying out for justice and God’s redemption. Crying out over our sins and blindness.
- Seeking justice for those who are marginalized and oppressed. Let’s be honest. When we look at one another, we DO see color. This might conjure up certain prejudicial narratives about one another.
- Repenting of our prejudicial narratives.
- Going local and small. This one is something I keep inching towards. Focus on building relationships in the neighborhood and city you reside in will have longer lasting impact.
- Spiritual formation and self-awareness. This one to me is a LONG TERM project. Learning to name our emotions, needs, judgments, thoughts, motives! This one is probably the toughest of all. But this helps us learn to be with others and truly “sense” their needs, even when their rhetoric is hostile and judgmental.
- Committing to daily spiritual disciplines and worship that brings us near the heart of Jesus (intimacy with the One true King and Lord), keeps us honest, and keeps us connected to others (who are different than us).
Someone like me who supports people with a wide range of beliefs can say #blacklivesmatter as part of my spirituality and still stay connected to those who would rebut this statement. If they choose not to connect, my heart and prayer is still John 17 and the Lord’s Prayer because, ultimately, the work of the Spirit is for the person and I to be one and in community. That’s the work of Christ that I’m submitting to.
Lord, make us one by the power of your Holy Spirit. We cry out and grieve the hostility and polarization our country is experiencing. We ask for your mercy upon us. We ask it for our children!! Be merciful and come to our assurance.
With great love, tenderness, and compassion…