Think for a moment of reaching out to the Creator of the universe as the “perfect parent,” a loving Mommy or Daddy. It is both intimate and tender. This sets up a whole new world view. It affects how we interact with each other, it affects our stance towards the world, our stance towards life itself!
In place of a distant and impersonal deity, Jesus’ words call us into a relationship with the Creator as a loving and caring parent! That would mean then we are the beloved child!
So then this prayer not only speaks to God’s identity as loving parent but in a very real way proclaims us beloved children of our Abba God.
In this prayer we pronounce that the very name of God is holy, and then we cry out that “God’s way” should prevail both in heaven and on earth. So as we pray for this to be a reality then we are also called to work for it to be so, by the way we live our lives...building up the Reign of God.
As the prayer progresses, we next ask for the necessities of daily life...not for a super abundance, but for “our daily bread”. Just that which we need, not for riches and excess! This request has much to do with how we live on this earth. For instance, it has everything to do with our carbon footprint, with how we care for our common home.
Asking only for “our daily bread”, will then impact the needs of others, especially the poor and the marginalized. If we truly seek “only what is necessary for our lives” then our excess can be shared with those in need. I would argue that this reality is directly connected to the previous request that “God’s way should prevail both in heaven and on earth” -- surely sharing our excess with the poor is building up the Reign of God.
As the prayer moves along, next we ask to be forgiven as we forgive others. This is a very dangerous ask because it seems to be asking to limit God’s forgiveness to the same extent we forgive. Do we really want God’s forgiveness to be modeled on and limited to the manner and nature of our personal forgiveness of others? I am not so sure that is the case.
But I think there is a challenge here for us, to look at how we forgive others, a call to more freely forgive our sisters and brothers. Fortunately, God’s grace and forgiveness is limitless, always available, and just waiting for us to ask for it!
And finally we ask our loving Divine Parent to guide us and guard us as we journey through our day. In the midst of all the “violent words” we hear spoken each day, let us speak these words of intimacy, tenderness and forgiveness. Let us open our hearts to these words and allow them to transform us and our world into a place of peace and healing...into the Reign of God. Amen.