Fun for the children and much more
Now, to the scripture for this week's worship...In this weekend's Gospel reading Jesus' disciples ask him to teach them to pray. Jesus responds by giving them the prayer we call the Lord's Prayer and continues to give them much more. In preaching on this passage before, I said,
Jesus put it like this. He said, “Is there anyone among you who if your child asks for a fish will give a snake instead of a fish or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?” Jesus once again is arguing from the lesser to the greater. Your father who is lesser than God is not going to give you these other things. Jesus’ teaching opens up other possibilities. I wonder at once, “But what if the child asks for a snake or a scorpion?” What would God do then?The full text of the sermon is online here: How Much More!
The wonderful thing about this analogy is that the answers to these other questions is already built in. For if the earthly father who loves their child has that child come and say, “Dad, give me a scorpion.” The answer will be “No.” If the child asks for a snake, the answer could be yes, but the snake will not be a Copperhead or a Diamond Back Rattler. The father will give something good to their child, but not something harmful.
Jesus teaches us to see through the imperfect love of a good earthly father for their child then imagine how much more perfect God’s response will be. The check cannot be completely blank. You will not be given whatever you want, whenever you want it. The relationship simply does not work like that.
Jesus goes on to say, “If you then, who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Oops! It’s not how much more stuff will the heavenly Father give you. It is not how much more will the heavenly Father give you everything you every ask for in prayer. Jesus says, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” God’s own presence.
This is the beginning of a deeper experience of prayer. It begins with admitting that I don’t have all the answers, but I have an idea that you do, God. What I really want is your presence in my life. For when you do get the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in your life, then God can be with you more fully in the junk life throws at you. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance wrong desires can be less of a problem—you might ask for a scorpion a little less often. Maybe sometime you will ask instead for that daily bread.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Labels: King of Peace event