Powers and Principalities
Sun, Feb 26, 2017

Kingdom, Power, Glory, Amen!

Duration:15 mins 39 secs

Our Second Reading this morning comes from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter six, verses 7-13.  I want you to go ahead and open your pew bibles to page 1031 because in a few minutes, there is part of this text that I want us to look at on the page.  Until then a few final words of introduction, for this is the final week in our series on the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus shares it with his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.  I hope you have found this series as helpful as I have for whether we pray this prayer, this Lord’s Prayer, in the quiet of our rooms or together as the people of God, we discover what it means to follow Jesus.

Each week in this series, I have also attempted to share at least one practical word or tip about prayer before we read the scripture.  I have suggested that you pray the Lord’s Prayer several times a day, that you might shoot up arrow prayers, and that you need not be too fearful of letting your mind wander while you pray as God might be using your wanderings to lift up what you really should be praying for.  I’ve encouraged open eyed conversational prayers before meals, to use short verses of scripture as you pray, and to try a simple version of the Daily Examen.  

This morning, I want to invite you to consider your posture as you pray.  What posture do you use for prayer?  For many of us it is folded hands, bowed head, and closed eyes.  Already in this series I have invited you to pray arrow prayers and open-eyed table graces which do not particularly lend themselves to our traditional prayer posture.  So let me encourage you to try some other postures as well.  When was the last time you kneeled for prayer, especially when you needed to confess?  Perhaps, you might try praying with head and arms raised in expectation of receiving a gift from God.  Or maybe you might pray as you walk, literally covering your friends and neighbors in prayer as you pass their homes on your daily exercise.  Yes, let your prayer open your posture to see and hear God speak to you in new ways.  

Now, let us hear this Word of God to us as found in Matthew, chapter 6, verses 7-13.  

7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,

    hallowed be your name.

10     Your kingdom come.

 Your will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12And forgive us our debts, 

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13And do not bring us to the time of trial,

        but rescue us from the evil one.

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, for you are our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.

It has probably never taken you eight whole weeks to pray the Lord’s Prayer before, but we have finally made it to the end.  We began with the invitation to pray through Jesus to Our Father who is a BIG God with an address in heaven.  Then we prayed that God’s kingdom might come and God’s reconciling and saving would be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Yes, we remembered that God’s will is Jesus.  

Then the prayer shifts gears with the fourth petition from “Thy name … thy kingdom … and thy will,” to “our bread … our debts … lead us not … and deliver us.”  Suddenly we had to dive deeper because these petitions presented translation issues.  The word we translate as “daily” in relation to bread is found only in the New Testament.  We think it means something like enough or sufficient and thus, reminds us that many in the world and this community long for “enough” every day and many of us need to know when “enough is enough.”

Then we encountered the ongoing debate between “debts” and “trespasses,” discovering that debts is a more accurate translation of the Greek and points us to the fact that there is something amiss in our relationship with God and one another that is deeper than conscious, willful missteps.

Last week we found that the word we pray as “temptation” actually reflects the significant, identity-testing times of trial that come as a result of being followers of Jesus Christ.  Much more than moral lapses which we might conquer with enough will and endurance, these times of trial require a BIG God to rescue us from the snares of death.

And now we have reached the end.  Turn to that page in your pew bibles.  Because we are now supposed to pray, “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen,” right?  That is how the Lord’s Prayer ends.  But look at your bibles.  It’s not there.  We go from the end of verse 13 – deliver us from evil – straight into a discussion of forgiveness in verse 14.  “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen” isn’t even in the Bible!

Dr. Tom Gillespie, former president of Princeton Theological Seminary tells the story of once co-officiating at a wedding with a Roman Catholic Priest.  They had been asked to invite the congregation to join together in the Lord’s Prayer as a testimony to their unity and oneness in Christ.  Recognizing the different versions of the Lord’s Prayer used in their traditions, Gillespie announced, “Today and only today, we Presbyterians will say, ‘trespasses.”  Quick as a flash, the priest responded, “And we Catholics, today and only today, will add the doxology: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”   Yes, our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters end the Lord’s Prayer the same way that Jesus did, after deliver us from evil.  But not us Presbyterians – even though it’s not in the Bible, we cannot imagine ending the Lord’s Prayer without the concluding doxology.

Now, I must admit it is not entirely accurate to say the doxology is not in the Bible.  If you look a little closer, perhaps a few of you have already discovered this, there is a footnote at the end of verse 13.  The footnote says, “some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.”  Yes, somewhere along the way in the history of the church, a scribe decided that the Lord’s Prayer needed a doxology, so he wrote it in.  Probably because this is how he prayed it every Sunday in worship.  But the most ancient manuscripts that we have today do not include that line.  

There is an interesting connection to the Amen that we find at the end of hymns in our Red Hymnals.  Our Director of Music Richard Cook shared with me this week that:

“The amen was added more or less by mistake, as a byproduct of the Oxford Movement [a movement of worship reform] within the Church of England [in the mid 1800’s]. Particularly when singing metrical settings of the Psalms, there arose a practice of adding a stanza of praise – a Doxology – at the end of the hymn. … the Doxology would be sung or chanted by the choir or cantor, and the people would respond with Amen, or “Yes, that’s what I say!” 

Just like us and the Lord’s Prayer, those English leaders of liturgical reform felt they needed a doxology, a stanza of praise, to conclude a singing of the psalms.  

As I investigated this curious footnote in scripture this week (because it is not often that I preach on footnotes), I discovered that it was common practice for Jewish prayers in Jesus’ time for everyone to add their own doxology.   If you had a model prayer, like the one Jesus is teaching us, then the doxology was supposed to be extemporaneous.  Everyone added their own declaration of praise.  What would that look like for us here at Reid Memorial today?  Could we add our own doxology, our own statements of praise and commitment to the end of the Lord’s Prayer?  How might you do that?

Would you add, “Almighty God, we put our trust in you!”

Or maybe, “O God you are amazing and worthy to be praised!”

How about, “God you are awesome and I cannot believe you love me!”

Or for the younger crowd, “#GodRules! #Amen!”

(I am going to get so much grief about that from my kids when I get home)

Yes, however you would add your own doxology, your own commitment of praise and thanksgiving, I want you to know that we need more of it in the church and the world today.  We need more folks who are willing to not just mumble through a footnote at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but to stand up and declare with an exclamation point what they know to be true.  My friend and editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, Jill Duffield, puts it this way:

Please, tell me, there are some among you who are eyewitnesses to the majesty of God. Please, tell me, there are some who are willing to stand up on Sunday with a prophetic message fully confirmed, men and women moved by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word of God.

Tell me what you have seen and heard. Don’t hold back. Make it as evident as a lamp shining in a dark place. Be attentive and share the heavenly data that heretofore has been in the cloud. Bring it from the mountaintop down to the valley, the ones with dry bones, the ones with anxious crowds, the ones filled with idolatrous sinners and the would-be-faithful, too.

During this in-between time of already but not yet, those of us who’ve had a glimpse of the glory of God can’t be shy about sharing it. There is too much at stake, too many languishing in darkness, too many unaware of Jesus’ saving grace or their own belovedness, too many begging for mercy or nurturing grudges, so preach with power as eyewitnesses to the majesty of God. 

My friends, that is what Amanda and John did this morning when they brought Jack for baptism.  They stood up before all of us and God and declared what they believe to be true.  Yes, on this day I need you too to go all in!  Add you own glimpses of God’s glory.  Declare the truth of our BIG God who intends salvation and hope.  Announce from the top of this hill to the riverbanks down below that Jesus saves.  That Jesus loves you.  That Jesus loves me.  Put a big # and Amen on your commitment to be a light that shines in the darkness.  Stand up, my friends!  Let the world hear your doxology and your praise!

To God be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen!

 

Our Second Reading this morning comes from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter six, verses 7-13.  I want you to go ahead and open your pew bibles to page 1031 because in a few minutes, there is part of this text that I want us to look at on the page.  Until then a few final words of introduction, for this is the final week in our series on the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus shares it with his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.  I hope you have found this series as helpful as I have for whether we pray this prayer, this Lord’s Prayer, in the quiet of our rooms or together as the people of God, we discover what it means to follow Jesus.

Each week in this series, I have also attempted to share at least one practical word or tip about prayer before we read the scripture.  I have suggested that you pray the Lord’s Prayer several times a day, that you might shoot up arrow prayers, and that you need not be too fearful of letting your mind wander while you pray as God might be using your wanderings to lift up what you really should be praying for.  I’ve encouraged open eyed conversational prayers before meals, to use short verses of scripture as you pray, and to try a simple version of the Daily Examen. 

This morning, I want to invite you to consider your posture as you pray.  What posture do you use for prayer?  For many of us it is folded hands, bowed head, and closed eyes.  Already in this series I have invited you to pray arrow prayers and open-eyed table graces which do not particularly lend themselves to our traditional prayer posture.  So let me encourage you to try some other postures as well.  When was the last time you kneeled for prayer, especially when you needed to confess?  Perhaps, you might try praying with head and arms raised in expectation of receiving a gift from God.  Or maybe you might pray as you walk, literally covering your friends and neighbors in prayer as you pass their homes on your daily exercise.  Yes, let your prayer open your posture to see and hear God speak to you in new ways. 

Now, let us hear this Word of God to us as found in Matthew, chapter 6, verses 7-13. 

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13And do not bring us to the time of trial,
        but rescue us from the evil one.

 

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, for you are our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.

It has probably never taken you eight whole weeks to pray the Lord’s Prayer before, but we have finally made it to the end.  We began with the invitation to pray through Jesus to Our Father who is a BIG God with an address in heaven.  Then we prayed that God’s kingdom might come and God’s reconciling and saving would be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Yes, we remembered that God’s will is Jesus. 

Then the prayer shifts gears with the fourth petition from “Thy name … thy kingdom … and thy will,” to “our bread … our debts … lead us not … and deliver us.”  Suddenly we had to dive deeper because these petitions presented translation issues.  The word we translate as “daily” in relation to bread is found only in the New Testament.  We think it means something like enough or sufficient and thus, reminds us that many in the world and this community long for “enough” every day and many of us need to know when “enough is enough.”

Then we encountered the ongoing debate between “debts” and “trespasses,” discovering that debts is a more accurate translation of the Greek and points us to the fact that there is something amiss in our relationship with God and one another that is deeper than conscious, willful missteps.

Last week we found that the word we pray as “temptation” actually reflects the significant, identity-testing times of trial that come as a result of being followers of Jesus Christ.  Much more than moral lapses which we might conquer with enough will and endurance, these times of trial require a BIG God to rescue us from the snares of death.

And now we have reached the end.  Turn to that page in your pew bibles.  Because we are now supposed to pray, “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen,” right?  That is how the Lord’s Prayer ends.  But look at your bibles.  It’s not there.  We go from the end of verse 13 – deliver us from evil – straight into a discussion of forgiveness in verse 14.  “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen” isn’t even in the Bible!

Dr. Tom Gillespie, former president of Princeton Theological Seminary tells the story of once co-officiating at a wedding with a Roman Catholic Priest.  They had been asked to invite the congregation to join together in the Lord’s Prayer as a testimony to their unity and oneness in Christ.  Recognizing the different versions of the Lord’s Prayer used in their traditions, Gillespie announced, “Today and only today, we Presbyterians will say, ‘trespasses.”  Quick as a flash, the priest responded, “And we Catholics, today and only today, will add the doxology: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” [1] Yes, our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters end the Lord’s Prayer the same way that Jesus did, after deliver us from evil.  But not us Presbyterians – even though it’s not in the Bible, we cannot imagine ending the Lord’s Prayer without the concluding doxology.

Now, I must admit it is not entirely accurate to say the doxology is not in the Bible.  If you look a little closer, perhaps a few of you have already discovered this, there is a footnote at the end of verse 13.  The footnote says, “some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.”  Yes, somewhere along the way in the history of the church, a scribe decided that the Lord’s Prayer needed a doxology, so he wrote it in.  Probably because this is how he prayed it every Sunday in worship.  But the most ancient manuscripts that we have today do not include that line. 

There is an interesting connection to the Amen that we find at the end of hymns in our Red Hymnals.  Our Director of Music Richard Cook shared with me this week that:

“The amen was added more or less by mistake, as a byproduct of the Oxford Movement [a movement of worship reform] within the Church of England [in the mid 1800’s]. Particularly when singing metrical settings of the Psalms, there arose a practice of adding a stanza of praise – a Doxology – at the end of the hymn. … the Doxology would be sung or chanted by the choir or cantor, and the people would respond with Amen, or “Yes, that’s what I say!”

Just like us and the Lord’s Prayer, those English leaders of liturgical reform felt they needed a doxology, a stanza of praise, to conclude a singing of the psalms. 

As I investigated this curious footnote in scripture this week (because it is not often that I preach on footnotes), I discovered that it was common practice for Jewish prayers in Jesus’ time for everyone to add their own doxology.[2]  If you had a model prayer, like the one Jesus is teaching us, then the doxology was supposed to be extemporaneous.  Everyone added their own declaration of praise.  What would that look like for us here at Reid Memorial today?  Could we add our own doxology, our own statements of praise and commitment to the end of the Lord’s Prayer?  How might you do that?

Would you add, “Almighty God, we put our trust in you!”

Or maybe, “O God you are amazing and worthy to be praised!”

How about, “God you are awesome and I cannot believe you love me!”

Or for the younger crowd, “#GodRules! #Amen!”

(I am going to get so much grief about that from my kids when I get home)

Yes, however you would add your own doxology, your own commitment of praise and thanksgiving, I want you to know that we need more of it in the church and the world today.  We need more folks who are willing to not just mumble through a footnote at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but to stand up and declare with an exclamation point what they know to be true.  My friend and editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, Jill Duffield, puts it this way:

Please, tell me, there are some among you who are eyewitnesses to the majesty of God. Please, tell me, there are some who are willing to stand up on Sunday with a prophetic message fully confirmed, men and women moved by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word of God.

Tell me what you have seen and heard. Don’t hold back. Make it as evident as a lamp shining in a dark place. Be attentive and share the heavenly data that heretofore has been in the cloud. Bring it from the mountaintop down to the valley, the ones with dry bones, the ones with anxious crowds, the ones filled with idolatrous sinners and the would-be-faithful, too.

During this in-between time of already but not yet, those of us who’ve had a glimpse of the glory of God can’t be shy about sharing it. There is too much at stake, too many languishing in darkness, too many unaware of Jesus’ saving grace or their own belovedness, too many begging for mercy or nurturing grudges, so preach with power as eyewitnesses to the majesty of God.[3]

          My friends, that is what Amanda and John did this morning when they brought Jack for baptism.  They stood up before all of us and God and declared what they believe to be true.  Yes, on this day I need you too to go all in!  Add you own glimpses of God’s glory.  Declare the truth of our BIG God who intends salvation and hope.  Announce from the top of this hill to the riverbanks down below that Jesus saves.  That Jesus loves you.  That Jesus loves me.  Put a big # and Amen on your commitment to be a light that shines in the darkness.  Stand up, my friends!  Let the world hear your doxology and your praise!

 

          To God be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen!



[1] Thomas W. Gillespie, The Lord’s Prayer (Participants Book), 30.

[2] Gillespie, 40.

[3] https://pres-outlook.org/2017/02/transfiguration-sunday-february-26-2017/