Well, we are in the Lenten Season, that six-week period of time leading up to Easter. For Christians, this is often times a period of reflection as we remember what our Lord has done for us. It is also a time to examine ourselves and how our lives match up with Jesus’ intent for them.
During this time of reflection and introspection, I have been fortunate to participate in a group study utilizing a book written by John Indermark, entitled, Traveling The Prayer Paths of Jesus
. I thought I would share a couple of things from the book with you, as well as some personal insights.
Although I have been a Christian for many years, sadly I miss some of the simplest truths and messages from our Lord. A case in point is the example of prayer given by Jesus, often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
While I have prayed this prayer for years, I never thought of how it is an inclusive prayer, one that acknowledges and inspires unity. It is about community. Notice how the words, our
, are woven throughout the prayer. It does not say, My
Father, and give me
…, forgive me
… Jesus undoubtedly knew our propensity for self-centeredness. His example helps us to include others. It’s not about just making our lives better and providing for our needs, but providing for the whole human race. God is the Father of all creation and thus the Father of all people. Whether or not some people recognize Him as their father is another issue. The prayer seems to cover all the necessities of life. It’s short and to the point. We would do well to remember it is the heart behind the prayer that moves God, not the length or floweriness of it. With that said, it does not mean we are not to pray for our own needs, or refer to God as our personal Father. But, it does open our eyes to the needs of all people. The book I spoke of earlier suggests praying parts of the prayer and then meditating on the meaning of those parts. It’s a good exercise.
The second part of this letter has to do with the above heading, “The Journey is Part of the Destination.”
Sometimes in life we can become so goal specific that we fail to enjoy the journey toward accomplishing the goal. As we reflect on Easter we are reminded of God’s goal through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was aware of this goal as He stated He had come to do the will of His Father. That goal was to be born, sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world, and be raised from the dead. What happened in between - well that was life my friends. While salvation through death on the cross was His goal, He remained in touch with, and available to, those He encountered along the way. They were not a nuisance, or interruption or distraction; rather, those encounters were opportunities to meet needs and save the lost. Jesus could have gone to His crucifixion without ever having engaged with the disciples or without having ever healed the sick. His dying on the cross and resurrection would have still accomplished the specific goal for which it was intended. However, a relationship with Christ and faith in Him would have likely suffered severely had He not taken time for others. The disciples would have not been developed in their personal walks with God the Father, had they not gotten a chance to know the Son. Countless people would have remained sick, blind, and lame. Those lives so deliberately and delicately touched by Jesus, would have continued to suffer with their ailments. It is evident, therefore, that Jesus not only came to save lives in the eternal sense, but in the physical sense as well. Trying to get someone to focus on eternal things can be difficult when their most basic of needs go unmet.
In our quest to share Jesus with the world, let us embrace some of the seemingly distractions of life. Allow yourself to embrace and engage people and places, even when they disrupt your goal or routine. By doing so, we are following Christ example and are a more powerful witness of His love. While being with God for eternity is most assuredly our goal as followers of Christ, the Lord made it a journey to be enjoyed. Its not a game of Monopoly where we draw a card and get to Pass Go, and collect our $200 (i.e. Heaven), or spend our time and talents buying up real estate and commodities in an effort to ultimately become rich. No, it’s a journey. One in which we use our time, talents and assets to minister to others. In doing so, we live life to its fullest. We put a humane face, on Christ so to speak. And along the way, we get to enjoy those we meet and the beauty of God’s creation.
We at Sword and Spirit Ministries wish you a blessed Easter.