All sorted

The last couple of posts were (as labelled) perspectives… now having worked it all out I am ready to write the definitive answers to the future of the universe. Alternatively, when I re-read this one later I will call it ‘that was really only a perspective, nothing more’. Good to have alternatives!

What I am seeking to address is somehow in response to these kind of questions:

  • Why was Paul doing what he was doing?
  • Did he have a plan as to what he would seek to work toward once he had an ekklesia in city-state after city-state? (Or, alternatively, are we to have an idea what we should be working toward?)
  • How does the apostolic work (as per Paul and all those who follow in each generation) relate to the Great Commission?
  • How does the Great Commission relate to the Creation mandate?
  • Is the hope for Creation beyond the parousia or could it be this side?
  • And the parousia itself? Have we got that one sussed?

Even before I write I realise this is going to be one of those perspectives and certainly not the final word, however, I recognise when situations come up that challenge previous thoughts it normally indicates some fresh directions are coming into view. So let’s launch in.

Humanity, earth and temple

The primary goal is not to prepare people for heaven but to live on earth, both in the here and now and the age to come. Genesis and the creation accounts I think indicate this. The seven day preparation mirrors the 7 days preparation for the opening of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chron. 7:9). Creation – heaven and earth – is a temple with the heavens as the throne and the earth as the footstool, with humanity as the image (we could almost say idol) placed inside the temple, in line with Ancient Near Eastern culture. Eden itself then is a mirror of creation, it being something of a temple itself.

Matthew 24 and the Great Commission is about temple building, it being a repeat of Cyrus’ commission to build a temple in Jerusalem for God (2 Chron. 36:23 and Matt. 28:18-20). Nothing, though, related to Jerusalem in it, but to the ‘ends of the earth’, and no physical building work involved. The earthly Jerusalem had a temple, or to put it more accurately, it was a temple-city, with around 20% of the land space being occupied by the temple and its buildings. When coming to Jerusalem one could only say, ‘I saw the temple’. It was no Canterbury with a cathedral, it was the Temple with some add-ons! Contrast this to John in Revelation: ‘I saw no temple’ in the new Jerusalem. The contrast is complete. A city with no temple is a statement far beyond ‘a new Washington with no capitol building’.

The whole earth as a temple (creation) and the New Jerusalem (the size of the then known earth, and the shape of the holy of holies) as temple, with the Great Commission being that of temple building. This is the overarching framework I suggest that has to shape us. There is indeed a parousia but before then, what?

Ekklesia as movement

Jumping back a step we have Paul planting (right verb?) an ekklesia in city after city. He did not plant a sunagoge but an ekklesia. That word tying back to the calling of Israel, to listen to the voice of God and consciously act out any instruction, and (important in the hitorico-cultural context of the all-under-one-rule of the oikoumene known to Roman Empire) tying into the assembly of those who were qualified to have a say in the current and future culture, shape and activity of the city. (We can use the rather rigid translation of ‘called out ones’ (ek kaleo) provided we understand that it is to those called out for the purpose of something bigger than themselves.) Hence, as I suggest in my books, the people called in such a way are predominantly a movement with the ‘one another’ of community within that movement. If we lose sight of ‘movement’ (a new world movement not a new church movement!) we will end up with a wrong importance placed on ‘church’, with an importance in itself, not an importance based in its mission. It is the earth that is the Lord’s and all its fullness – ironically we are ’emptying’ the earth at this time.

I suggest that the ekklesia was not called to be separate but to be within the context as it was to take responsibility for the context. Leadership within was to watch over (episkopoi – translated as bishops but literally ‘over seers’) what came in / out and influenced that community (hence we read of ‘elders’, comparable to those who sat in the city gates). They were there to give the ekklesia the best possibility of developing to fulfill her destiny. Care within (community), teaching, etc. all fit that scenario and were all to lead to the growth of the body to do the works of service; the goal and context for those works were as per in the beginning the work within creation. We are created in Jesus for ‘good works’, surely to be understood as works that mimic the Creator who worked and at the end of each day proclaimed ‘it was good’. God observed that he had done a good day’s work; work forever therefore was to be defined as that which enabled creation to move from any level of chaos toward shape and fullness.

Work is not defined as ‘what job do you do?’ but ‘what contribution are you making to the future?’ Money, as in pay packet, does not define value to that kind of work, but what time (part of who we are, each person being given time in packets of minutes, hours, days etc) have you given that sows into where God wants the world to go? Perhaps we can call the difference as being between chronological and redemptive-eschatological time: redemptive as it addresses the mess that is here and eschatological as it is shaped by the vision of what is to come.

Ekklesia in Jesus

This is how Paul distinguished who he was writing to from the already-existing ekklesia in the same geography. The contexts were big (taking Corinth as an example, around 250,000) and the ekklesia that he left behind that would have no need of him in the future, if their faith was to increase, was probably around 50 people, as they could be hosted within one house, the house of Gaius (we know this from how he references this in the letter to the Romans).

Size apparently was not important, nor was social status. Faith and purpose seems to be paramount. Or to put it bluntly, growing the church, pulling more people out of the burning building, planting new churches… none of that was of first importance. OUCH! But if it is not about getting people ready for heaven but for living here now and living here then that maybe ties together. And if it is helping contribute to the shape, culture and essence of where people live, thus responding to the groan of creation. That groan that is waiting for the ‘daughters and sons to come to their glory’ (Romans 8), and glory I consider is the reversal of sin, it is the coming to the stature as humanity. The incarnation, the incarnation that shows that God is not SO different to humanity. Totally different to fallen humanity, but not so different to true humanity. Hence God could become human; humanity can be created ‘after the likeness of God’; we can be transformed into the image of Christ.

The next stage?

Here an ekklesia, there an ekklesia, everywhere an ekklesia, and then? Probably shake it all about. Not waiting for it to grow (numerically) but looking for it to grow up into (toward?) the fulness of Christ, the fullness of him who fills all things in every way, who descended to the lowest depths and ascended to the highest heights… for the ekklesia. He ascended and descended throughout the whole of creation, the temple.

Growth, taking responsibility. Understanding that all authority in heaven and on earth is implicitly given to the people who are seeking to disciple the nations. A shaping of the heavens, a restriction on the powers that are operating with the authority originally given to humanity; an authority on earth over the context (‘what kind of human is this that even the winds and waves obey?’). Cyrus had claimed, so did Rome all authority in earth. In so doing they had to make sure they did not anger the gods; Jesus with all the eternal favour of God stood before the protypical ekklesia to release again the stalled temple building project; to show that there was no glory in Rome but that glory would rest on people, who would work until there was ‘no temple’ to be found within any city.

I think Paul was working toward Spain, that western end of the empire and then! Well we have to answer that one… answer the what now that stage 1 is complete.

Then with no focus on numbers but the atmosphere changes, people get turned on with the breath-taking, deeply practical vision of a transformed world. The battle is big, consumerism has consumed and the supply is diminishing, but a vision of a future, not one shaped by fear, but by faith. New ideas emerge of how to reverse the CO2 issue, the loss of species (maybe a measure of a new evolutionary process?) as we ‘see’ a new creation. People coming on board (my obsession with the Asiarchs of Acts 19) who don’t know Jesus at a personal level but contribute to the future, and if we are to be judged by ‘how we build’ and the building project is temple building, maybe some of them will more than share in the age to come; and along the way as darkness is pushed back, as the battle in the gates is won, some of those Asiarchs and a whole bunch of others will find that God is not a theory but is found in a response to the face of Jesus, who literally puts a face to the name.

Does ekklesia disappear?

I think the better focus is to ask what is to appear, for that is important. A bit like Jesus – it is better that I go away, for then… It is the then that has to grab us. No point in trying to get something to disappear nor to worry about that; better to focus on what we need to see appear – signs of the new creation.

In the meantime what is vital is that the story is kept alive. Israel lived around 3 festivals (synagogue, developed in exile, around a weekly setting). Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The big story embedded in their psyche and re-emphasised yearly. Passover, for they had to remember they were once in slavery. Liberation, freedom from… and we need to fill in the blanks, but surely liberated from the consumerist activity to that of the ‘life giving Spirit’ activity. Pentecost, celebrated then as the giving of the law, the giving of the community shaping instructions, that related them to God, to each other and to the land; for us the giving of the Spirit. We are not alone. We do not strive alone. We are weak, but… And Tabernacles, living in the wilderness in our tents but God dwelling there as a sign that tells us we have not arrived, yet we are not static, God has tabernacled among us, and one day there will be a dwelling of God with us, not a dwelling in a temple, but a dwelling in a creation-temple.

Until then, the story is kept alive. Until then there will be an ekklesia in Jesus, but this ekklesia people will be everywhere, a people of hope who inspire. All around them will be those who have come close to the kingdom, and those who fall into the kingdom, who wander all around the kingdom, who do the work of the kingdom, on whom God smiles. Yes maybe some ‘tares’ also but a whole lot of wheat, and I am sure some of the ‘wheat’ never used ekklesiastical language nor rituals.

Liberation… come on earth… don’t stop groaning… maybe we will hear you.

In / Out or Direction?

Been a little silent on here for the past few days as caught up with a bunch of other stuff, including right now with Gayle (and Andrew Chua) in Silicon Valley. Great connections for now and with potential for the future. Principles of participating in ‘city’ shift / transformation seem so transferable to corporate / global life. Two of the important hurdles to get over for those working within corporations are that they are not employed by the corporation – I guess that one should be pretty obvious, but when not acknowledged it is very difficult to outwork something of a kenarchic (kingdom) movement. It is also difficult with that approach to effectively disempower mammon.

The second aspect is that believers are not involved with the purpose of converting people (a side effect).

It is that barrier that is essential in the shift to ‘transformation’ / discipling nations. Maybe as a way in to it we can consider the two paradigms of in / out and that of direction. The in / out paradigm borrows heavily from the presentation of Jesus to a religious leader in Jerusalem where he needed a spiritual experience, so radical that it was akin to a birth-again; this would enable him to see the kingdom and to be like the wind – unpredictable in activity but consistent in character. However, I suggest that there is another paradigm that Jesus presented where the direction of a person was very important, and that he put a measurement along a spectrum:

And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions (Mark 12:34).

Proximity to the kingdom. Direction, headed toward seems to have value. Paul maybe is indicating the same thing in Romans when he talks about those whose behaviour is in line with kingdom values, where a judgement will be made on that great day according to their behaviour (Rom. 1:12-16).

Could it be that there are those ‘born again’ that are not very close to the kingdom, and those who are not ‘born again’ who are close to the kingdom?

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (Jer. 29:7).

The above Scripture is a challenge to the inward looking prayer (if it goes no further) of praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Prosperity of the city is not to be understood primarily as ‘economic’ and certainly not when it is tied to (defined by?) peace / shalom. A city that prospers (BABYLON!!) is one that is nearer the kingdom, it is one where there is a tangible measure of the kingdom having come, the will of God being done, the culture of heaven on earth. It is moving in a direction… ever closer to the kingdom.

And ‘you too will prosper’? Again not be thought of in terms of ‘economic’ prosperity (and this kicks back to who is the employer). Prosperity for the believer is that their life seeps out, that seed falls everywhere, including on good and honest soil.

The relationship is symbiotic. We need the corporation to be moving closer to the kingdom if we are to prosper. It is not ‘I am prospering (saved?) and I am calling for you as individuals to cross over and be in’, but ‘I am sowing, working, praying and immersing myself in a way that you will experience (corporately) shalom’ and as I do that ‘our / my life is overflowing (being saved) so that the Christ in me becomes visible’.

Early thoughts above… let them marinate.

OK… so why?

Now we have the right question. I remember going to Wales with a prayer team some 20+ years ago. We were hosted in a local hotel and as I walked through the door I said ‘this place is haunted’. A few wide eyes from some of the team with me, and we walked to reception, where there was a little note – our hotel is the home also of xxx who walks the corridors of this hotel…’

What should we do. My response was, ‘I am here to sleep, if there will be any disturbance it will be me disturbing this spirit.’ [Now some 20 years later and having dialogued with [Anglican] advisers to bishops on the para-normal I might have a few more ‘categories’ than I had back then. Back then, pentecostal boy, saw everything not of God as demons.]

I have been privileged to be asked into homes of those who are not ‘believers’ (but if invited in are they not at some level a ‘believer’?) to deal with doors banging randomly, apparitions manifesting etc.. I remember in Leatherhead my neighbour talked to me over the fence asking for some help. I went round and said – ok come with me, and together we will sort this out. At the end he crossed himself the way I do as he was from a Catholic background, she went the other way as she was from an Orthodox background – I didn’t, as back then I did not cross myself. Not sure if I would do it differently now – back then it was simple, this is a demon that is attached to the house due to the trauma left from a previous owner.

So back to yesterday’s post… Paul what did you do?

Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead (Acts 28:11).

Twin brothers – the gods / semi-gods Castor and Pollux. OK bring it up to date. We go buy a car, and the salesperson proudly says – you have a great vehicle here and we have dedicated this car, complete with naming ceremony to the god who oversees all travel. What would we do? Refuse to buy it? Cast out the demons? Take it to the local church and ask them to sprinkle it / submerge it fully? Although a little humorous I think such a car would create a few questions for us.

So Paul what did you do?

Wrong question.

He might have emabarked with a good old ‘shaba dabba’ and confronted the powers behind the image – after all he said images are nothing, but behind them lie demons. Or he might have simply cast them a sideways look, went to his bunk and slept, not even giving them the time of day.

The Bible doesn’t tell us cos it would be so detrimental – we would do what he did. Not a good idea. We need to do what we need to do, and as far as possible for the same reason as Paul did what ever he did.

I wrote to a group recently about a shift in a situation from ‘heavenly warfare’ to the entrance of the warfare on the earth – always a key transitional moment. I said for some it might mean intense prayer, for others a glass of wine.

Not… never what… always why.

What did you do (Paul)?

Wrong question

I was once in a gathering many moons ago when the speaker (Sharon Stone… no not the actress) asked ‘how many of you have walked around a building or a block seven times, claiming it for the Lord?’. In my element I was one who enthusiastically put up my hand. She paused for a moment and then said, ‘You did that because you did not hear from God, you read it somewhere.’

Her point was made. We copy. We want to find out what was done before, so we quickly look for some mud and spittle (any spit will do) and carry it with us waiting for the miracle to happen. Joshua did not have a ‘Bible’, he heard God and acted. Jesus did not have a manual to refer to.

We like to know and then treat the Bible like a rule book, a manual to tell us what to do. I think it is more like fuel in the tank for OUR journey that a detailed map or instruction manual.

I like the big missing pieces in Scripture. Was Paul opinionated and difficult to get along with? Not really too relevant (might be interesting but so what?). More relevant is what about Martin? (I hope not now using it as an instruction manual) but we read of what is required of leaders in some of the ‘pastoral letters’: two quite good principles there – what happens in the home, and what do the neighbours think? Public and private… mind the gap.

I was shaped by a movement that I am deeply grateful for but in those early days we had / were on the journey of discovering what the shape of biblical church was. I think now not so smart, or might only get us so far… after all let’s assume we get the answer we are looking for, we could well be in danger of getting a ‘new wineskin’ but wineskins do not produce wine.

Paul, what did you do when you got were inside that vehicle, and inside it for days, and was informed that it had been dedicated to two demonic powers? That I am really interested in. I need to know cos then I will know what to do. And the BIBLE? Wonderfully silent. It is the wrong question. We can do the what… march around 7 times; pray and fast and ‘deal’ with the principalities; determine what and how ekklesia should be. All wrong questions. ‘WHY?’ I think ‘why’ is the question that we need to engage with. (More tomorrow.)

One more time: end of monarchy

The Bible… Love it. So much empowerment comes through regular reading and meditating on the pages, and if I am not cautious, empowerment of my ideas. Just seems God has not put in our hands a book that is so clearly delineated that I am the one inside the ‘lines’ and I put others ‘outside’. Chosenness places us in the door, not in possession of the house. All ins in Scripture seem to be so that all can be in… Jews so that the whole earth, all the ethna are able to enter. That seems to be the ultimate manifestation of the ‘tabernacle of David’ (Acts 15:16, 17). It is not centred in on 24 hour worship (though we worship in Spirit and in truth and that is a flow from our lives), nor about the ‘throne’ of David in the sense of some Jewish restoration… though all of those aspects can perhaps serve along the journey.

Israel, so different. And the many diverse understandings of Israel / election led to the sects within the developing people – particularly post-Exile once they had lost the land – and probably also leads to so many viewpoints within Scripture. There is a strong ‘we must have a king’ angle to counter that of ‘every person doing what is right in their own eyes’. I like the double-meaning that I read in there, but clearly the editors are agreeing that ‘we need a king’ and the only legitimate king is the one that is descended from David, hence the disaster that had come on the Northern kingdoms. (Interestingly in the earlier books there is a lot of justification why David should be king and why Solomon should be king, but by the time of the Exile with Chronicles there is no justification for this at all. By then it was clear David and his lineage is the authorised one from heaven. Now that is a viewpoint!)

And the other stream… the one I like of course. Kingship is rejecting God. Saul does not cut it… that soon becomes clear, so God then looks for someone after ‘his own heart’. Soft, open, meditative, reflective, worshipping for sure. But that takes us so far. If kingship is a rejection (the statement is not ‘if they choose Saul they are rejecting me’, but ‘asking for a king is rejecting me’) then to be after God’s own heart is to empty kingship of all it consists of, it is to bring kingship to an end, so that with renewed hearts, sight changes (a big Pauline theme) leading to each person doing what is right in their own eyes.

I have prior to this blog pointed out that Solomon displays wisdom and foolishness seemingly in equal measure, his structure in the land is Egyptian (very impressive to a Queen of Sheba)… leading to the divided kingdom and one part choosing one who came up from Egypt as their king. And the other part, Judah, overtly not choosing such a person, but the die is already cast.

Jesus comes as the ‘son of David’. He represents humanity in all its forms, and as son of David there is an implicit understanding of him being ‘king’, and king he is, just as David was. The fruit of David’s kingship is mixed and there are despots as well as good kings released, for ‘power corrupts’… Then we look at the cross, there nailed to it, to be read is ‘king of the Jews’. Accidental? Or is kingship nailed to the cross?

Yes we can use the terms ‘king of kings’ for Jesus, and how ironic that was in the NT era where there was always one who claimed to be ‘king of kings’, the one based in Rome. The pathway though is so different. Jesus is not the victor over the (Roman) king of kings through out-kinging the emperor. Laying down his life, the principalities that lie behind kingship are drained of their power. Language is so challenging. We use the term ‘king of kings’ and probably go very quickly to that of power and enforcing a rule.

‘Not so among you’ are words that were explained in the act of foot-washing.

I don’t really know what Jesus as king really looks like. In his presence we rightly tremble, we fear… not because of impending wrath but because we simply do not comprehend love like that.

David was to totally re-calibrate kingship so that power does not shape the future. God as ‘king’ does not shape the future according to power. Love overcomes.

A little extra

For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever Amen.

A little bit that some scribe seems to have added at the end as it is not present in what are considered the best manuscripts. Does it belong here? Probably not, but maybe!

Probably not given the MSS evidence; but maybe – this scribe added a good little finale, and I think we can add bits here and there that work for us, and focus us. Prayer is a lifestyle; prayer is relational; prayer is multi-faceted – so add a bit here and there seems well good to me. The Psalms are a great resource, but I would be pretty selective in what of that I used to pray! Too much smash the enemy (people) and their children in there to fuel prayer. Maybe read to avoid!

All prayer / stances that flow from ‘Father’… ‘our’… should determine what we add. I guess we will all add something unique. I have a zoom group coming up ere long and I will ask people to think ‘what do you that is your stance that you want to pass on / pray on to those who are present’. We all have something unique and this will affect how we pray. Variety, diversity, uniqueness.

And there will be parts we do not add to our praying. We will avoid them cos our view of God. Others might include. Revelation and conviction is what fuels us.

So the little bit extra, that seems to me to have been written in is really OK, and on the more important picture gives us permission to add as well!!

Lead not… deliver us…

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one
.

Historically this prayer made a lot of sense, it is the prayer for the disciples of Jesus in their context… yet though Scripture is not written to us it written for us. The time of trial was coming increasingly in their context and would reach a climax in the decades that were to follow their context, but for us?

Many Bibles translate the word as ‘temptation’ and that is probably included under this wider term of ‘trial’. (Likewise ‘the evil one’ is a broad term and can mean ‘evil one’ or ‘evil hour’ or even simply ‘evil’.) Trials come, life is not a straight line, but if we are proud of heart to think that whatever comes we will make it through – the Peter attitude of ‘even if all the others don’t make it you can count on me’ – we are likely to find that we are experiencing battles we really did not need to fight.

I love the practicality of Scripture. Don’t pray for difficulties… pray for peace… each day has enough trouble in it… And here comes a humble request in this prayer, indicating a positioning of ‘I am not so smart as to make it through regardless, so make the path for me one I can really handle’, and we know that if we pray in that way we will discover that ‘there is no temptation that we cannot bear’. (Imagine if Judas had prayed that prayer… no money bag given to him, no deal with the Jewish leaders for money…)

A profound prayer… a kind of summary of ‘all kinds of praying’. Some parts will appeal more than others. If we think about how we pray we will probably find that we resonate with some lines more than others. I am not great at intimacy, nor at the need to focus on today, and with an unhealthy element of arrogance am somewhat vulnerable to the cock crowing twice.

And if prayer is as much to do with life positioning as it has to do with what comes out of our mouths, there is a lot I need to give attention to. ‘With all kinds of prayers pray’. My way is OK and part of the ‘all kinds’… but I have to acknowledge it does not say ‘with one kind of prayer pray’. Ah well, just one more reminder that I have a way to go!

Forgive… as…

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

And we need to add the underlining to this phrase with the verse that follows:

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

‘Forgive me, Lord’. Who has not prayed that, and sometimes when we really should not have done so! But what about – do it just as I do it others? That is a bit challenging, and might explain why God is somewhat distant at times.

Debts, used in the prayer, and trespasses used in the underlining. A debt is what I owe; a trespass is crossing a line (I did a post recently on boundaries). What a great way to understand ‘sin’. I owe… I owe it to treat people as if they are part of humanity created in the image of God. It pushes me back to what I understand to be a central plank in Paul’s ethics – how we see no-one through old categorising criteria. And if I do not treat people in that way I am trespassing, I am stepping outside of my boundaries and resisting them living to the edge of their boundary.

Forgiveness – release the ship to her destiny. The problem of sin is that it imprisons us. So it seems if we are to fly and touchour destiny we need to release others, not demanding that they put right what they ‘owe’ us, not fighting them over where they have trespassed on to our territory.

Maybe so much of the prayer hangs on this part. After all it is the only part in Matthew that Jesus picks up and repeats.

Imagine not a world of perfection, but a world of release. Maybe this is why creation was never created perfect, maybe this is why the ‘bad’ tree was the one that would enable us to know what is perfect and what is not. Maybe the tree of life will help us simply live releasing, untying, saying to the ships we see ‘Untied, go sail’. I don’t think I can contribute much to perfecting the world, but maybe I have a contribution to liberating those I see within this imperfect, this ‘sinning’ world. A liberated world.

Daily bread

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Not so easy to translate, with the unusual word ἐπιούσιος – a word unknown in Greek literature. Could be ‘daily’ as in most Bibles, could be ‘tomorrow’. If it is the bread of tomorrow then it is asking God to help us live with the anticipation of the final bread at the Messianic banquet. To live with a future orientation and that to affect our present experience. If it is the daiy bread it is that we will have everything we need in terms of provision, and if so it is not a prayer for luxury but for what we truly need to be who we should be.

Maybe we can put the two together. As we anticipate that this is not all there is but there is an age to come, when we will sit down and eat (figurative, but how important meals were) and we will have everything we need. That banquet will be the fullness of the life that comes from the one who is the bread from heaven, and I suggest from the fruit of each life submitted to Jesus. Then tying the ‘daily’ understanding in – give me everything today that I need to live in a way that will both provide food for others and position me to benefit both now and then from all you are doing in the lives of others. Provision, positioning; now and the future; with the provision enabling me to be positioned to receive and give, what will be fully manifest then, in some measure to one and all now.

Intimacy and inclusivity; who God in heaven is; bold prayers offered in humility; then we drop down to provision and position. There is a flow because from here we are moving internally… forgive us.

Come… be done…

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Strong words… the ‘come’ and the ‘be done’ are at the beginning of the phrases and act as commands. This is why pulling a few Scriptures together might be a starting point but we need a little more than that. The intimacy, the halowing come first. But then…

On earth as in heaven. If we had no more Scriptures than this to inform us that the wil of God is not being done on earth, and it clearly does not come through God imposing it, and it does not come without our contribution, we have all of that in these phrases.

We get to know something of the will of God through understanding a little concerning the name(s) of God, the ultimate name being the name ‘Jesus’. I confess I have little idea how to pray for the Ukraine. I have prayed, because (I think) I have faith that there will be no release of chemical nor nuclear weapons; I know the will of God as in heaven is no killings, no war, but that is beyond me to pray that. If prayer is lifestye then there are those who are ‘praying’ to some god that war will continue, that land will be stolen, boundaries changed. Yes, at a lifestyle level, there are conflicting prayers, with a difference we pray to the God in heaven, at best others are ‘praying’ to the heavenly realms.

Eschatology. Every prayer, every seed sown now is being sowed into the future, and we need to sow where we want the world to go… My bottom line understanding of the delay of the parousia is that we are providing the material for that, hence every prayer at the macro level for the end of war has to sow into that age when the final sword will be reshaped into a farming instrument. Over-realized eschatology will say everything now… Eschatology will say ‘your kingdom come… on earth as in heaven’ knowing that there has been seeds sown into the future and will not be surprised when the future spills over into the here and now. Eschatology will not push everything into the future, even if it does not demand everything now.

Your kingdom… not my interpretation of your kingdom. Bold decarations from humble hearts.

Perspectives