Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday Reading “The Lord and His Prayer” by NT Wright #6

15830Today we finish the book, The Lord and His Prayer, by N. T. Wright. The book was a result of a series of sermons preached in 1995 for Advent and published in 1996. In this book Dr. Wright looks at the Lord’s prayer phrase by phrase in six chapters. Each week we have been looking at one chapter and praying through the book as well, each Sunday focused on one phrase of the prayer. This week, we focus on the concluding doxology to the prayer, “Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory.” I have already posted some quotes from this chapter on my Facebook page and this weekly chapter summary will continue to appear here on my blog. I welcome comments on my Facebook page. It would be cool to hear from you as you pray the prayer along with me. Quotes from the book are in blue.

Wright recognizes that this phrase is not part of the original text of the prayer in either Matthew or Luke. He does think that it is “it is actually inconceivable, within the Jewish praying styles of his day, that Jesus would have intended the prayer to stop simply with ‘deliver us from evil’. Something like this must have been intended from the beginning.” (81) He sees the ending as an appropriate summation of the prayer contrasting the violent, selfish, power-hungry kingdoms of this world with the gracious and peaceful kingdom of God. Jesus vs. Caesar is the allegiance choice every generation must make. Sadly, most1st century Jews and most manifestations of the church chose the wrong kingdom.

(“Glory to God and Peace on Earth”) becomes a fairly clear statement of two kingdoms, kingdoms that are destined to compete, kingdoms that offer radically different definitions of what peace and power and glory are all about. 80

When you look at the Word become flesh, you don’t see the sort of glory that Augustus Caesar and his like work for. You see the glory that is the family likeness of God himself. Caesar’s glory is full of brute force and deep ambiguity. God’s glory—Jesus’ glory—is full of grace and truth. 82

This is the ultimate redefinition of the kingdom, the power and the glory. Caesar’s plans for his own glory are turned by God into the establishment of the true Kingdom. 86

Wright makes three applications of the conclusion to the prayer. First, “this is the prayer of mission and commission.” Praying this prayer commits us to submit to God’s kingdom vision and be part of bringing this kingdom about. Second, “this is the prayer of incarnation and empowerment. That is we realize that we do our kingdom actions with the authority of Christ and with the power of the Spirit. Finally, “this is the prayer of confidence and commitment.” We can pray the whole prayer with confidence that God will answer and he will bring about his kingdom for this world.

If the church isn’t prepared to subvert the kingdoms of the world with the kingdom of God, the only honest thing would be to give up praying this prayer altogether, especially its final doxology. 87

The church should be active within the world as the people of the true King, as the Christ-people, and should be prepared to justify that action by appealing to her royal, anointed status. To pray this prayer is therefore to invoke the power of the Spirit of Jesus, as we work for the glory of God in his anointed son. 87

To pray in Jesus’ name is to invoke the name of the Stronger than the Strong; it is to appeal to the one through whom the creator of the world has become king, has taken the power of the world and has defeated it with the power of the cross, has confronted the glory of the world and has outshone it with the glory of the cross.  88.

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