I am still camping out in the “Lord’s Prayer” this week, focusing on the amazing fact that I am a child of Our Father. In the first post I saw myself as a child imitating the Father, with the wonderful potential of resembling Him. And then, in the second post, I acknowledged that I am completely dependent on His care. Today, as I sit around the campfire, I think I’m getting into some harder parts, and I think Our Father is taking away the milk bottle and putting some solid food on the grill (Hebrews 5:13-14).
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12). I am going to look at the child in this part of the prayer from a grandmother’s point of view for a moment. If you’ve ever cared for active toddlers – especially if the toddlers are your beloved grandchildren – you know what I mean when I say that they arrive at your house already forgiven for any naughty things, or just kid things, they will do that day. Your heart has already handed over to them clean floors to be dirtied, clean clothes to be spit up on, furniture to sticky hands and muddy feet, trinkets to be knocked over and broken.
God Our Father is like that. Revelation 13:8 proclaims Jesus “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world,” or “the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made (NLT).” Before we were ever received into His house He had forgiven us.
But this part of the prayer doesn’t only teach us that we will be/have been forgiven. This part of the prayer introduces an outward responsibility, an “other” focus – as we also have forgiven our debtors. And it is here as I look at the Lord’s Prayer, that I become aware of a gentle transition happening in the lives of the little children. Jesus is leading them/us into “growing up.” Give us this day our daily bread may hint at being thankful, as we are teaching our grandchildren to say “thank you” when we hand them food and drink that they ask for. It may even hint a little bit about sharing. But this part of the prayer clearly leads us back to the very first word of the prayer. It leads us back to the “Our.”
The Name, the Kingdom, the will, which is to be done on earth as it is in heaven, belong to God. The Father, the daily bread, the debts – and the debtors – are ours. That He is Our Father means we are part of a family which brings acceptance, identity, security, purpose. That He gives daily bread means we are completely dependent, yet have all that we need and something to share. That we have debts and debtors means that we have been forgiven and accepted into the family, and that we have the opportunity, and the command, to mimic Our Father in forgiving and loving and bringing others in.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ … Ephesians 4:15
… the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Still at the campfire …
Image, free download from Pixnio by Bicanski