Last night I read a sonnet in Malcolm Guite’s After Prayer: New Sonnets and Other Poems. It is in a series of sonnets on the images George Herbert used in his wonderful poem Prayer (1). The poem can be found in George Herbert: 100 Poems, selected and edited by Helen Wilcox.
The image for this sonnet was “heaven in ordinary”. Guite’s poem was beautiful. It helped me write this haiku:
with the light of Christ
heaven in ordinary
shines through creation
Then this morning after writing in my journal, I went for a walk after writing. Before I left, I prayed that I would see some of that divine light shining during my walk. Returning home, I wrote this haiku:
windy november ground
covered in dead wet leaves…
promise of new life
May you see the divine light in your life today!
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We are looking at Luke’s version of what we traditionally call the Lord’s Prayer. The form we are most used to is found in Matthew, but Luke’s gospel may contain the earliest form. Its simplicity may make it more ideal for examining how this prayer can help us experience God’s presence. In the first blog of this series, we saw how an Aramaic word abba was behind the word translated “Father”. It was a word that pointed toward intimacy, trust, and love. This is highlighted further in the next two phrases of the prayer: “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.”
Unless one is at home in the Christian tradition, these phrases may sound strange–even off-putting. I believe that both of these phrases carried the same meaning. And that meaning is “May your purpose in creation be achieved.” It is a prayer that what God began in creation would be completed.
As the wonderful abba word focuses on the nature of God, it also helps us to understand God’s purpose. In creation, God’s desire was that God’s character would be fully revealed in all of the created order. And that character is love. God created us in love and wants us to manifest that same faithful love; to be open to the intimacy of love which can flow through all things.
Now, I am not naive about our world. Love is not yet seen in all things. Intimacy is not possible where patience, gentleness, and kindness have not yet blossomed. Nevertheless, God’s purpose still remains. If we want to join with God in fashioning the world of God’s dreams, let us pray.
The prayer might be something like this: Gracious God help us and all of creation to have spirits overflowing with your kind of love–a love that is patient and kind, unselfish and giving.
It may be that every time we pray such a prayer with sincere hearts, the world turns a little more toward love–God’s beautiful purpose.