This series looks at the Lord’s Prayer as a template for mission. “…on Earth as it is in Heaven.” A hopeful prayer or a call to action? Maybe a call to leap.
Our youngest son came into our room the other day. He’s two years old but is already more independent and as big as our four-year-old. Well, our youngest came into our room, which is not uncommon. He was pulling a mattress along with him. It was the mattress that had been in his crib. He had pulled it out of the closet, dragged it down the hallway and pushed it in our room, all the way up to the foot of our bed. I thought he wanted to set up a bed in our room, so I handed him a pillow and went back to getting ready for the night.
Shortly after coming into our bedroom, though, our son crawled into bed with us. Now, when your energetic free spirited child wants to snuggle, then you have to set aside what you are doing to cuddle. As I began to put away my book and phone, I heard my son and wife scream. My wife shouted with sheer terror as our son yelled at the top of his lungs, tucking his legs under his body, and jumping off the bed to land flat on the mattress he brought in the room. By the time I sat up, my wife had lunged to grab our son as he prepared to jump off the bed for the third time.
To our anxieties as parents, our youngest son has no sense of fear. He lunges forward, ready to fall, but always wanting to try new things. He uses playground equipment that his older brother refuses to go on, but our youngest refuses to let anything to hold him back.
A lot of money will go into marketing this political season to identify anxieties that Americans face, claiming their candidate can make the fix or the opponent is ill-equipped to handle.
Fear, however, seems to be the antithesis of faith. While there are some rich texts of God, angels, Jesus telling people to “fear not,” the truth is Jesus’ ministry is scary. Jesus calls people to follow him to an often unknown path that will change their lives. It is a call to leap forward, even in the midst of the fearful unknown.
The second line in the Lord’s Prayer is the call for God’s kingdom and will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. I remember sitting in the pew as a child and the pastor emphasizing that this speaks about creating something on earth. I kept wondering if it was something God was going to do now or something that we were expected to help bring about. Later I would hear Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, say that Christianity is "not an exam you pass. It’s the song you sing.”
One day a woman approached me and said, "Well, I did it." She was smiling, but her husband looked a little nervous as they stood there. She had shared with a group of us about a month earlier about how unsatisfying her job had become. She was making a good amount of money but found that something deeper was missing.
As she and her husband stood there talking to me, I realized she had quit her job and was going to start a job that offered less salary, but was able to help in the community as she wanted. Her husband was terrified, and she was nervous, but they had talked about it, crunched the numbers, talked with family, confided with friends, and realized that she wasn't going to be happy until she was able to live with her passion.
She was able to move up into what turned out to be a growing company. There were new obstacles and challenges she would face, but soon she stopped referring to her new position as a job and began to identify it as a calling. But they had no idea if things were going to work out or not as they stood in front of me.
"I did it," she said, "I made a leap."
Are we the type of disciples that want to bring about God's kingdom and will on earth as it is in Heaven? Because it first requires us to leap.