“Lead Us Not into Temptation” (The Lord’s Prayer; Luke 22:1-46)

Holy Thursday
April 17, 2014

“Lead Us Not into Temptation” (The Lord’s Prayer; Luke 22:1-46)

During this Lenten season we’ve been doing a series on the Lord’s Prayer called “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” And that’s exactly what our Lord does on this Holy Thursday evening. He teaches us to pray. That’s what he instructs us to do, that’s what he gives us an example of doing, and, even more than that, he prays for us.

In particular, on this night Jesus instructs his disciples to pray for strength in the face of temptation. “Pray that you may not enter into temptation,” Jesus tells them more than once. It was a word they needed to hear. It’s a word we need to hear, also. For we too face temptation in our life, and repeatedly so.

And so it is fitting, as we work our way through the Lord’s Prayer, that tonight we should come to the Sixth Petition, “Lead Us Not into Temptation.” So let us go now, with our Lord and his disciples–let us go to dark Gethsemane and there learn from Jesus Christ to pray.

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Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“And Forgive Us Our Trespasses . . .” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

“And Forgive Us Our Trespasses . . .” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Today we continue our series on the Lord’s Prayer with the Fifth Petition, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” By the way, since this is the last of our Wednesday midweek services, and we’re only up to the Fifth Petition, you may be wondering how we’re going to finish out the Lord’s Prayer. Don’t worry. We’ll do the Sixth Petition, “And lead us not into temptation,” next week on Holy Thursday; the Seventh Petition, “But deliver us from evil,” on Good Friday; and the Conclusion, the “Amen,” on Easter Sunday. And so tonight, the Fifth Petition, “And Forgive Us Our Trespasses. . . .”

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Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” (The Lord’s Prayer)

We continue with our Lenten series on the Lord’s Prayer, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” Tonight we come to the Fourth Petition, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.”

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Published in: on April 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Thy Will Be Done” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

“Thy Will Be Done” (The Lord’s Prayer)

We continue in our series on the Lord’s Prayer, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” And tonight we come to the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, namely, “Thy Will Be Done.”

“Thy will be done.” Are we sure we really want to pray this? You know, sometimes we think of “Thy will be done” as just a resigned afterthought, after we’ve prayed for what we really want. “Lord, here are the things I really want you to do for me, but I know you probably won’t answer me the way I would like, so I’ll tack on a ‘Thy will be done’ disclaimer at the end.” It’s like we’re bracing ourselves for the inevitable disappointment when God doesn’t come through for us. But we know our prayers are supposed to sound pious, and so a little “Thy will be done” thrown in at the end does the trick.

Well, that’s kind of a minimalist view of this petition. We’re undervaluing it. There’s a lot more going on here than a mere “escape clause” for when our prayers don’t come true.

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Published in: on March 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Thy Kingdom Come” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

“Thy Kingdom Come” (The Lord’s Prayer)

We continue our Lenten series on the Lord’s Prayer, a series that we’re calling “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” We come now to the Second Petition, “Thy Kingdom Come.”

I have three main points to make about this petition: 1) In this petition, our Lord is teaching us to seek first the kingdom of God. 2) In this petition, we are praying that God’s kingdom would come in our midst now. And 3) In this petition, we’re praying that God’s kingdom would come with Christ’s return at the Last Day. We’ll take these points now one at a time.

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Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Hallowed Be Thy Name” (The Lord’s Prayer)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” (The Lord’s Prayer)

For our midweek Lenten services this year we’re doing a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. I’m calling it “Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” because that was the request of the disciples to Jesus, as you heard in the reading from Luke 11. And Jesus responded by giving them the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Notice, by the way, that the request was “Lord, teach us to pray,” not just “Lord, teach us about prayer.” And notice that Jesus’ response starts out, “When you pray, say. . . .” Not “When you think about the concept of prayer, sit there and do nothing.” You see, the point of this teaching, and the point of this whole sermon series, is not just to fill our heads with information about prayer, but rather, that we would actually pray. “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Last week we started out with the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus teaches us to address God as “Our Father who art in heaven.” We said that God is not some abstract “Higher Power” that we cannot reach, that we cannot know, and that we can’t be sure if he’s hearing our prayers and looking favorably upon us. No, in and through Christ, we have a much better relationship with God than that. Jesus has revealed God to us. We can know that God is our kind and loving heavenly Father. Jesus has opened the way to God for us. By his death and resurrection and his ascension into heaven for us, Jesus Christ has won forgiveness for our sins, has given us new life, and is seated at God’s right hand, interceding for us, so that now our prayers do have access to the throne of grace. God hears our prayers, and he has mercy on us, for Christ’s sake.

Now after the introduction, that is, the address to God as “Our Father in heaven,” we come to the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. The First Petition means the first thing we are asking for in this prayer. The petitions are the things we’re asking for or requesting. And the first one in the Lord’s Prayer is “Hallowed be thy name.” Notice, the first thing we’re asking for is not something like, “Lord, give me a new car,” or even, “Lord, help Aunt Tillie in the hospital.” We’ll get to Aunt Tillie, and maybe even to a new car, later in the prayer. But that’s not where Jesus would have us begin. See, Jesus has us start out with something about God himself, a request and a concern about God’s name, that it would be hallowed. Now of course this will be of the greatest benefit to us, but we don’t start out with a bunch of requests for our own immediate needs. God’s name comes first.

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Published in: on March 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Our Father Who Art in Heaven” (Matthew 6:1-21; The Lord’s Prayer)

Ash Wednesday
March 5, 2014

“Our Father Who Art in Heaven” (Matthew 6:1-21; The Lord’s Prayer)

You know, during Lent there is a strong tradition to do a series on some part of the Catechism. And that’s what we’re going to do for this Lenten season. Today we begin a nine-part sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. I’m calling it “Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” which is what the disciples asked Jesus to teach them. And Jesus responded by giving them the Lord’s Prayer, as well as other teaching about prayer. Apparently, Jesus wants his Christians to pray. He thinks it’s important. He gives us instruction to guide us and many precious promises to move us to pray. Not just so that we will know about prayer. But more than that, so that we will actually pray. That we will put the teaching and the promises into practice. And so this will be our theme for these services: “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.”

Today on Ash Wednesday we’re going to take the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven.” Then on the next five Wednesdays, for our Midweek Lenten Services, we’ll take up the first five petitions, “Hallowed be thy name,” “Thy kigdom come,” and so on. During Holy Week, we’ll do “And lead us not into temptation” on Holy Thursday, and “But deliver us from evil,” on Good Friday. Then on Easter Day, appropriately enough, we’ll conclude with the big “Amen.” But tonight we begin with the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, namely, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven.”

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Published in: on March 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Rooted and Grounded in Love” (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
July 29, 2012

“Rooted and Grounded in Love” (Ephesians 3:14-21)

On this day when we have the confirmation of our two adult catechumens, I want to take this opportunity to remind all of us of how we have been “Rooted and Grounded in Love.”

“Rooted and grounded in love.” This phrase comes to us from our Epistle lesson for today, from Ephesians chapter 3. It describes what it true for all of us who have been baptized into Christ and instructed in the Christian faith. We are rooted and grounded in love, God’s great love for us in Christ, that “love divine, all loves excelling.”

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Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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