“THE PATER NOSTER”
Saint Luke 11.1-4
SIX CHIEF PARTS SERMON SERIES
Lententide Midweek Vespers: Three
7 March Anno Domini 2013
Father Jay Watson SSP
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost
The Law kills. The Gospel brings back to life. You’ve experienced the work of the Commandments and the Creed, now what? Well, after you’ve died and the lover of your very being brings you back from the grave what do you do? You thank him—you speak and converse with him; don’t you?
Well your “old Adam” might not; does not. The average Lutheran spends far less time praying than the average Baptist or the average Roman Catholic. The “confessional” turns up his pharisaical nose and sniffs: the Papist just recites rote collects (and “Rosaries”) and the Baptist just prattles on and on about “Father God I just wanna…”
Here me and understand me: you are to pray constantly and without ceasing. It’s what God the Holy Spirit tells you through the Apostle. It’s not Law it’s just fact. Christians pray—period! Not praying very much? If not, then remember who you are, and maybe come to Private confession for some personal absolution for your ingratitude and laziness.
For every “free spirit” among you who doesn’t like the constraints of praying the prayers that faithful Christians have been praying for 2,000 years or more (the Psalter, the Historic Collects, the Breviaries of the “Fathers”), get over it and learn some humility and discipline. There will always be plenty of time for your own heart to construct additional masterpieces of devotion and sincerity!
The best way to talk to the Lord is by repeating back to Him His own words of love and care for you: The Psalms. The Psalter is how a Christian learns to talk with the Trinity. But, the “bestest” (better than best) prayer is the “Pater Noster.” I submit you should pray it constantly and refer to it as the “Pater Noster” or the “Our Father.” If you feel Rome smiles when you utter Latin, stop thinking like Pat Robertson and think like Saint Martin Chemnitz. Once when famed English Priest Ronald Knox was about to baptize a baby the family requested he use the vernacular. According to his biographer Evelyn Waugh, Father Knox replied: “the baby does not understand English and the devil knows Latin.”
But, translations aside, it was given by the Lord for you to embrace and saturate yourselves in, but it isn’t really the Lord’s Prayer as such anymore; not only because His own Passion and Cross is accomplished, but because He wanted YOU to have this direct entry into the Heart of God. As Christ said to the “12”: “when ye pray, say, ‘Our Father…’” The first two words are the key to the entire prayer: “Our Father.”
To be sure, the prayer’s Seven Petitions are all that any child of the Father needs to pray. Hallowing His name focuses you on Who it is that hears and responds. Praying the Second Advent comes this very moment shows you understand what faith is and where you want to be. The “Gethsemane” petition helps drown the selfish nature and conform you to the Father’s steady hand. The daily bread request, while showing gratitude also is a confession that the real Bread of Heaven is Christ’s Body given in the Eucharist. You pray by the Spirit that you will forgive those who have sinned against you; and, that if you don’t you understand that your sins will stand against you and bar you from heaven. Because of your daily battles you need to pray that the Father would guard you against both temptations and the evil one. Amen. You want more, dig out your hardback copies of Luther and read his explanations as well as the stuff in the back.
You want the whole point—“Our Father!”
The Gospels are replete with references Christ makes to His Father. The Love between the Father and the eternally begotten Son is also shown in Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration. Jesus is tender as He talks of His Father in His Maundy Thursday discourse, poignant when He pleads with His Father in the Garden prior to His arrest, and downright passionate when He cries to Him from the crucifix!
But the Father always remains THE Father. God isn’t just a better father, or the best father, God the 1st Person is THE FATHER—perfect, inviolate, without defect, fault, weakness, or any other sins which befalls we earthly dads. If any of you fathers, or mothers, parents, know the deep, abiding, sacrificial, all-consuming love you have for your own son or daughter, or have felt that love (even imperfect and broken) from your own parents, your own father…than imagine (and I know you can, because God wants you to) what a perfect Father would be like; and how much He would love you.
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” [Lk. 11. 11-13]
The Father’s love is perfect and infinite. He loves Jesus, and Jesus loves Him and you. This prayer is an intimate bond of those who just belong together. It’s family talk; it’s table talk; it’s sitting on the couch with your Father and He’s embracing you and kissing you once again talk. You are that beloved and adopted Son of God the Father because Jesus has made you so. Jesus’ life of obedience is given you as your blood right. Jesus’ shed Blood and Body given at Calvary makes you a free co-heir and sibling of His. Jesus by baptizing you into His death and resurrection at + the font has not just metaphorically placed His robes upon you, but He has placed Himself in you and you in Him. His Father is your Father. God says so.
Pray the Litany everyday during Lententide. Pray the “Our Father” at least three times a day (Trinitarian J ) at Luther expects (as I expect)…but in all your failings, backslides, defeats, and tears…know that your big Brother Christ the God/Man has you right there with Him and His Father, your Father, “Our Father.”
In the Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost