Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament
Week Twenty-Seven Summary and Practice
Sunday, July 4—Friday, July 9, 2021
The realm of God is right here, right now, in the present tense. The relationship with God’s love that sets us free is in our midst. The possibility of freedom, of a whole new world, is already here.
The only moment that has any effect or revolution for us is when we acknowledge God’s active presence in our lives and the power of unconditional love.
When most people say, “We want justice!” they normally mean that bad deeds should be punished or that they want vengeance. But Jesus says that’s simply not the case with God. God’s justice is total, steadfast love, total unconditional giving of love.
In a world full of big challenges, in a time like ours, we can’t settle for a heavy and fixed religion. We can’t try to contain the Spirit in a box. We need to experience the mighty rushing wind of Pentecost. We need our hearts to be made incandescent by the Spirit’s fire. —Brian McLaren
God calls us to a new way of living, a new way of relating to God, to others, and to the world. It is a way of cooperating rather than competing, a way of giving rather than getting, a way of faith rather than knowledge, a way of relationship rather than anonymity, a way of love rather than animosity.
Our journey in the story of creation, the adventure of Jesus, and the global uprising of the Spirit has come full circle. It all came from God in the beginning, and now it all comes back to God in the end. —Brian McLaren
Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Perhaps some of the most comforting words Jesus shared in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels are the prayer we Christians call the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer. While the prayer is most often said in community or as part of ritual prayer, this prayer can also be a contemplative practice when prayed slowly and mindfully, perhaps even as lectio divina. We invite you to pray this modern version of the prayer of Jesus from the Anglican Church of New Zealand, which both honors and reflects indigenous Maori culture.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples
of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
Church of the Province of New Zealand, A New Zealand Prayer Book, He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (Collins Liturgical Publications: 1989), 181.