Every week, during our Sunday worship service, we say the Lord’s Prayer together.
Our Father Who art in the heavens,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
As in heaven, so upon the earth.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
While I do usually focus on the content of the prayer and the words I’m speaking, sometimes I listen in awe to the voices around me.
I hear the strong voice of my pastor before me, leading us in prayer while at the same time making his own supplications of God.
I hear the voices of the school-aged boys in front of me, some dutifully reciting the words they’ve learned through years of nightly practice, others struggling with this new communication with the Lord.
I hear the young grandmother with her 4-year-old grandson in the pew behind me, her voice resonating with years of experience, his timid and hesitant.
I hear the centenarian gentleman to my right, going at his own pace – lagging behind the rest – articulating every word with sincerity and humility.
I hear the voice of the newcomer beside me, a visitor to the New Church who knows the prayer well but transposes some words and substitutes others.
I hear the seasoned woman, a lifelong member of this society, who has struggled for decades through her marriage to a man who only comes to her beloved church twice a year – if that – for festival services.
I hear the quiet middle-aged divorcé, whose ex-wife has gone her own way, leaving him to raise their children single-handedly amid the mental illness she imparted to greater and lesser degrees upon them.
The Lord’s Prayer, in itself , holds so much meaning. With it we ask the Lord for support in both our natural and our spiritual lives, requesting daily nourishment for our bodies as well as our souls, for the strength to forgive those who hurt us and the perseverance to learn to see others through His eyes, to yearn for His will and not our own.
I love how we are unique individuals who’ve travelled our own unique path in life – and yet, our paths have all lead us to this church on this day, at this time, to this powerful prayer: together, in harmony. We are all turning to the Lord for help, knowing – whether consciously, in that moment, or not – that He is the Source.
“When the Lord’s prayer is being said, which embraces all heavenly and spiritual things within it, so much can be poured into every least detail that heaven itself is not great enough to contain it all, and this of course depending on the capacity and use of each individual.” (Spiritual Experience 1790)