St Barbara’s (not given as ill!)
Rev Tulo Raistrick
Today is a wonderful day on which to conclude our series on the Lord’s Prayer, because today we think on the words: “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory. Amen.”
Those words weren’t part of the original prayer that Jesus taught. They were words that were added later. But they were words that from the earliest days of the church we know were prayed as part of the prayer. Why did the early Christians feel the need to add some additional words?
Well, because it is the most natural response to not only the prayer, but to the wonderful events of Christ’s resurrection we celebrate today. These words are a wonderful affirmation of faith and a delightful burst of praise.
Jesus has taught his disciples to come before God as:
Father (“our Father”)
King (“your kingdom come”)
Provider (“give us today our daily bread”)
Pardoner (“forgive us our sins”)
Guide (“Lead us not into temptation”); and
Deliverer (“deliver us from evil”).
Jesus rising from the dead gives us every confidence to pray to God in this way.
The intimacy of calling God “Father” is only made possible by a God who will do anything to overcome the barriers that prevent us from knowing Him. Jesus spoke of the shepherd who would go to any lengths to find his lost sheep; of the father who would do anything to reach out and welcome back his prodigal son. Christ rising from the dead brings us into the very presence of our loving God. As Paul was so confidently able to express it: “I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Jesus’ resurrection enables us to call God “King”. The powers of the world did everything they could on Good Friday to eradicate Jesus as a threat to their power. They used the ultimate weapon of death itself to do so. After all, they must have reasoned, no-one comes back from the dead. And yet their strongest, most final solution, was not enough. The resurrection shows us that God is the ultimate king, the one whose will will ultimately be done, will prevail. There is no power, political or religious, that can compare with the power and authority of God. He is truly lord, truly king.
Jesus’ resurrection enables us to call God “provider”. The God who raises his Son from the dead is more than capable of meeting our needs in this life and the next. I’ve been reading recently about monasteries during the Middle Ages. The church of medieval times got many things wrong – the selling of indulgences, heresy trials, crusades – but one thing they did understand that perhaps the church of a more modern era has allowed to slip, is the priority of eternity. People recognised that far more of their life would be lived beyond death than before it – a concept we struggle to get our minds around. And Christ shows through his resurrection that God is the provider beyond death as well as before it. He is the one who will nurture us, sustain, both today, and throughout eternity.
Jesus’ resurrection enables us to call God “pardoner”. It is because of the cross, Christ’s great sacrifice for us, that we can know our sins forgiven. Our sins have neither been ignored, as if the wrongs we do and that are done to us are of no import, nor have they become an impenetrable barrier forever cutting us off from a holy, pure God. Instead, in rising from the dead, Christ shows that the debt of sin paid on the cross, has been paid in full. There is no debt outstanding. Full forgiveness is made possible.
Jesus’ resurrection enables us to call God “guide”. In Jesus, God has gone ahead of us to show us the way through death to eternal life. We can follow in his steps through death into the joy and wonder of eternal life. He is the way, the truth and the life.
And, as we saw last week, Jesus’ resurrection enables us to call God our “deliverer”. Jesus rising from the dead is the sign that evil, death, darkness, has been overcome, defeated. The evil that we see in our world will not have the last word. God has triumphed. Jesus is alive!
No wonder the early church and every generation since has finished the Lord’s Prayer with such a wonderful burst of praise. The kingdom, the power and the glory all belong to God. No earthly power can possibly compare to our God, our father, king, provider, pardoner, guide and deliverer.
And so we finish with a triumphant “Amen!” – “so be it!”. Sometimes this word should be whispered. The way of the cross can be costly, and when we pray the Lord’s Prayer it calls us on to live loving, sacrificial lives. It is not a prayer to be uttered lightly.
But today it is a word to be shouted out loud “Amen! So be it!” All the glory, all the power, all the honour belong to Him. Christ is risen from the dead! He is worthy of our praise!