Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sunday, August 25, 2019 - Luke 13:10-17 "Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman"

I preface this sermon as being one of my 'peculiar' sermons, and as I am a bit rushed I will just leave it at that...

Please take a listen and see what kind of illustration I decide to use in the discussion of the 'Healing of the Crippled Woman'.

Be a blessing to someone today!!

In Christ,

Luke 13:10-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Thursday Night Worship Sermon - August 22, 2019 - Hebrews 12:18-29

Last Thursday night we continued our trek through "Hebrews".  The author is winding down as we near the end of this Epistle and here they contrast the 'Old Covenant' with the 'New Covenant' by an illustration using Mount Sinai and Mount Zion to represent the two.

Let us not jump to the conclusion that the 'Old Covenant' is bad or lacking.  Too many times these verses and others have been spun to support an Anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

It was not a long sermon, I tried to keep it short so we could come in near our goal of a 30-minute worship service.  We've (I've) gotten a bit long lately and I wanted to keep closer to our original intention for Thursday nights.

Take a listen and please remember to...

Be a blessing to someone today!!
In Christ,

Hebrews 12:18-29 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
18 You have not come to something[a] that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20 (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly[b] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

a) Hebrews 12:18 Other ancient authorities read a mountain
b) Hebrews 12:23 Or angels, and to the festal gathering 23 and assembly

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 18, 2019 - Sermon over "Luke 12:49-59" - Jesus the Cause of Division

Well, it's always interesting to preach over passages of Scripture when one of the comments in the Commentaries are "this would be a good week to take some vacation time and call in someone to do Pulpit Supply".  That's really not particularly encouraging... but, the reality is that the verses selected by the Lectionary for this week are some of those so-called "hard-verses/saying" of Jesus.  We really like to preach over the love, grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation verses (come on Prodigal Son!) but... there is... and we can't forget it "judgment" and "correction" also in scripture.  None of us likes those verses that point out our sin and failings but we ignore them at our own peril.

I do, however, believe that these verses are not as "scary" as they appear at first... there is of all things, hope, love, grace, and reconciliation here in these eleven verses.  (I added 3 verses to the Lectionary selection and for a very important reason which you'll just have to listen to the sermon to discover what it was.)

We just have to abandon our fixation on "Apocalyptic" thinking in order to see what (I believe) Jesus was getting at here in these particularly peculiar verses... take a listen to the sermon.  I guarantee you'll see something new here.

Have a blessed day and remember above all else to...

Be a blessing to someone today!!

In His Grace & Glory,

Luke 12:49-59 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus the Cause of Division
49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided:

father against son
    and son against father,
mother against daughter
    and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
    and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settling with Your Opponent
57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case,[a] or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

a) Luke 12:58 Gk settle with him

Luke 11:42-48 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”

45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” 46 And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 48 So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs.

Luke 12:35-48 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Watchful Slaves
35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he[a] would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave
41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces,[b] and put him with the unfaithful. 47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

a) Luke 12:39 Other ancient authorities add would have watched and
b) Luke 12:46 Or cut him off

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hebrews 11:29-12:2, Sermon from Thursday Night Worship, Aug 15, 2019. "Faith & Action"

Many of the stories that the author of Hebrews (and it most likely, almost certainly, wasn't Paul) uses here are stories where action was the result of faith.  In a very concise and nutshell version of the sermon, our faith requires action.  Believing and not acting out upon and in that faith accomplishes very little (generally).

I compare this message in Hebrews and the message found in the Letter from James.  Though Hebrews wasn't written by Paul, I do believe it was composed by a follower/disciple of Paul.  And as such, I contrast the general misunderstanding of James and Paul's conflict on faith and works.  Though they certainly bunted heads on other issues, I really don't think there was a chasm between them on this issue.

Take a listen to the video, it wasn't a long sermon even though it was perhaps a little longer than most Thursday night messages.  Hopefully, you'll enjoy the message.

I'm a bit behind with the blog as Gail and I took a couple of days last week and went up to Minnesota for the "Minnesota Blue Grass Festival".  The Festival is out in the country near Richmond, MN and we spent two days there enjoying the music and festivities.  We had planned to then spend one day at the "Minnesota Irish Festival" in St. Paul, but, that day it decided to rain... pour actually.  So we decided to just bounce around and see what else we could find in that area to see or do.  It was a great trip but of course, we are happy to be home and back into our regular routine.

With that I need to run, please have a very blessed week and remember to...

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Love & Grace,

Hebrews 11:29-12:2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient,[a] because she had received the spies in peace.

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two,[b] they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

The Example of Jesus
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[c] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[d] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

a) Hebrews 11:31 Or unbelieving
b) Hebrews 11:37 Other ancient authorities add they were tempted
c) Hebrews 12:1 Other ancient authorities read sin that easily distracts
d) Hebrews 12:2 Or who instead of

James 2:14-26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Faith without Works Is Dead
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[a] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

a) James 2:14 Gk brothers

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

August 4, 2019 - Luke 12:13-21 "The Parable of the Rich Fool"

This past Sunday I preached over the verses found in the Gospel of Luke 12:13-21, best known as "The Parable of the Rich Fool".  One of the problems with these verses is that it's particularly easy to read them as a condemnation of the 'Wealthy' or even worse as deriding 'Farmers or Agriculture'.  This passage is most assuredly not meant to denigrate either of these parties.

The problem here is a lack of recognition that it is God's provision that has supported this man and he has completely forgotten about God.  He also seems to believe that he'll live forever and the scripture reminds him that such is not the case... none of us knows which day will be our last here on earth and we need to be certain to set ourselves right not only with God but with our loved ones each and every day.

I paused at the end of the sermon because I noticed the time and was trying to decide if I wanted to dive into the next segment of the sermon, I ultimately decided not to, as we were already running long with worship and I had at least another fifteen minutes of material (probably twenty to be honest).  Sometimes it's best not to try and make too many points, as it was everyone seemed to think I'd preached this sermon at them.  Perhaps that's a good thing... I'll just hold on to that last part for another day and perhaps we'll revisit this parable again before it rolls around in the Lectionary.

I will not be in the pulpit this Thursday or this coming Sunday as Gail and I are taking a few days of vacation.  We're planning to head to the "Irish Festival" up in Minnesota.  Both of us have a tiny bit of Irish blood but we both enjoy the music, dance, and culture.

I'll be back to blog again next week though I'll have to post about something other than the sermons I've preached.  It's been a while since I've done that and maybe it's time to just pull a blog post out of the climate of the world... we'll have to see where I find my inspiration.

Til then have a blessed week and as always...

Be a blessing to someone today!!

In His Grace,

Luke 12:13-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

James 4:13-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Boasting about Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”

Colossians 3:1-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The New Life in Christ
3 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.[b] 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.[c] 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive[d] language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal[e] there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

a) Colossians 3:4 Other authorities read our
b) Colossians 3:6 Other ancient authorities lack on those who are disobedient (Gk the children of disobedience)
c) Colossians 3:7 Or living among such people
d) Colossians 3:8 Or filthy
e) Colossians 3:11 Gk its creator, 11 where

Psalm 49 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Folly of Trust in Riches
1 Hear this, all you peoples;
    give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high,
    rich and poor together.
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,[a]
    there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly,
    and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever
    and never see the grave.[b]

10 When we look at the wise, they die;
    fool and dolt perish together
    and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves[c] are their homes forever,
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they named lands their own.
12 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
    they are like the animals that perish.

13 Such is the fate of the foolhardy,
    the end of those[d] who are pleased with their lot.Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    Death shall be their shepherd;
straight to the grave they descend,[e]
    and their form shall waste away;
    Sheol shall be their home.[f]
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me.Selah

16 Do not be afraid when some become rich,
    when the wealth of their houses increases.
17 For when they die they will carry nothing away;
    their wealth will not go down after them.
18 Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy
    —for you are praised when you do well for yourself—
19 they[g] will go to the company of their ancestors,
    who will never again see the light.
20 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
    they are like the animals that perish.

a) Psalm 49:7 Another reading is no one can ransom a brother
b) Psalm 49:9 Heb the pit
c) Psalm 49:11 Gk Syr Compare Tg: Heb their inward (thought)
d) Psalm 49:13 Tg: Heb after them
e) Psalm 49:14 Cn: Heb the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning
f) Psalm 49:14 Meaning of Heb uncertain
g) Psalm 49:19 Cn: Heb you

Friday, August 2, 2019

August 2019 - Newsletter Article - Pastor's Ponderings

Below please find my article for the August 2019 Newsletter.  July was a bit of a wild month with both the Concert and VBS packed into it.  In addition, I did spend some time at the DOC General Assembly down in Des Moines.  Gail and I also snuck away for one day to make a long weekend up in the Twin Cities, however, we ended up coming back sooner than planned in order to perform a funeral.

In August, we have a bit quieter month coming up and that's okay.  But, quiet is good sometimes...

Be a blessing to someone today!!

In Christ,

Pastor's Ponderings

Well, our 4th Annual “Son Celebration” Concert is now a thing of the past.  Thank you so very, very, very much to all who worked so hard to pull this all together!  I'm not going to try to list all of the folks that pitched in because I'm scared I'll miss someone!  There were so many that gave of their time to make this happen.  I do want to thank the Concert Committee, so thank you to - Kathryn Myers, Kathy Holm, Kim Anderson, Gail Karlen, Mel Alcox, Jared Kuhlers, and Stephanie Kuhlers.  The committee did a great job this year in getting everything organized and selecting some truly, truly, truly amazing bands.  If you didn't come out for the event then you simply don't realize what you missed... it was a TREMENDOUS night.

The performers were “Will & Jane” who brought along their daughter and another musician to perform for us. You might remember that Willy and his wife Sarah Jane performed as our “Headliner” for our first two concerts.  Next, we had “Lisa Larsen” a/k/a “High Heel”, Lisa has such a powerful voice, she brought her praise band along with her and they really shined!  Lisa has performed professionally for many years in the Omaha area and all across Nebraska and Iowa.  This was Lisa's first foray into doing strictly Christian Music outside of the Christmas Concerts that she performs each year in Omaha. Last we had “Jill Miller” along with her band, Jill is a true professional and a top-notch performer.  You may also remember Jill from last year when she performed with just two of her band members, this year we hired her and her whole band... and what a performance they delivered!

I can't tell you which of the three were my favorites because they were all amazing!!  It was just a great event!  Each of the groups gave a powerful witness to the strength and faithfulness of God in their lives, so much inspiration to those who attended.  Our only disappointment was the number of people who decided to join us for the concert.  It's discouraging that so few from our own Church and the surrounding area avail themselves of this “Free” event.  To be totally honest we should be charging for this kind of concert and the tickets would not be cheap!  We need to pray as to how we reach and convince more people to attend and feel the power of God through the voices of these individuals whom He has blessed so much.  Please join us in praying to this end...

Last night our Vacation Bible School kicked off and what a rush!  We had 59 little people attending and it was so much fun to see them all so excited and having fun all while learning about the love of Christ.  By the time you read this, we'll already be done with VBS and I do want to thank Jodi and Janet, along with all of their MANY helpers!  It takes a lot of folks to pull of VBS and we are very blessed by all that pitch in and work to teach these children about God and His Kingdom.  Praise God!

In August, Gail and I will be away on the 11th.  That Sunday my friend Kevin Wagner will be filling the Pulpit.  Kevin was one of my classmates in the ELM program back in Nebraska.  He has a great preaching voice and a strong presence in the Pulpit, I've always enjoyed hearing Kevin preach and I'm sorry I will miss it.  Kevin grew up in the Glidden area and was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Glidden, his father is still a member there and Kevin visits him regularly.  Please make Kevin welcome and let him know how much you appreciate him giving you a break from hearing me preach!

The Men's Group had their drawing for the Raffle at the completion of the Concert.  Jill Miller and Lisa Larsen were kind enough to help me with the drawing.  Our prize winners were: Mark Hungate, Donna Lambert, Sue Rowley, Dan Morrow, Joan Schaffer, Doug Filmer, and Craig Hildreth.  Congrats to them all and thank you to all who helped by selling tickets.  Special thanks to Lonnie Daisy for all the time and effort he put in selling tickets!  He spent a lot of time manning the booth at the Dance during Western Days and then again at the Concert.

We had a great offering of bottled water during our July “Water Sunday”, with I believe a final tally of 20 cases being donated.  Don't forget that “Water Sunday” for August is August 18th.  If you bring a case of water and are unable to carry it inside just let one of the men know and we'll carry it into the Sanctuary for you.  I do want to also thank all the folks that helped carry the cases of water to the basement, my knees truly thank you!

With that, I am going to close and forward this article to Brittanie.  Please, please remember... to...

Be a blessing to someone today!  Pastor Roy 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

"The Lord's Prayer" - Sermon given July 28, 2019 - Luke 11:1-13

Last Sunday the Lectionary led us to the verses concerning the "Lord's Prayer" in Luke's Gospel.  One of my favorite things to preach over is the "Lord's Prayer", there is so much more to it than most realize.

I've included both the video and the manuscript for the sermon.  It's been another busy week so I will just leave this here and wish you all a very blessed week!

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ,

Sermon given July 28, 2019, at Woodlawn Christian Church:

Today, we're going to take a look at a bit of scripture that we all know very well. In fact, we've already recited it here today. Or at least we've recited a portion and a revision of this particular piece of scripture. Today we'll be looking at the verses in Luke's Gospel that cover the “The Lord's Prayer”. The prayer that Jesus himself taught to the disciples.

For those of you who attended Mary Nelson's funeral, some of this will sound familiar as I have utilized some of the message that I prepared for her funeral to craft this message today.

So with that let's listen to the scripture for today:
Luke 11:1-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Lord’s Prayer
11 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come
3     Give us each day our daily bread.
4     And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
    And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Perseverance in Prayer
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

We find “The Lord's Prayer” in two of the three synoptic Gospels. We find it first in the Gospel of Matthew and also in a more abbreviated form in Luke's Gospel; which is the scripture that the Lectionary has guided us to today and which we just read. What most people do not realize, however, is that the prayer is found in a third location. It is found in the 8th Chapter of a non-canonical document known as the 'Didache' which is also known as 'The Teaching of the Twelve'. When we say a book or writing is or isn't canonical, what we mean is that it is or isn't in the Bible. Of course, what is considered canonical depends on whether you are looking at a Catholic, a Protestant, or one of the various forms of Orthodox Christianities Bibles, there are differences in the numbers of books in the various 'official' canons. 

'The Teaching of the Twelve' or the 'Didache' is a Christian document that likely dates to the middle of the First Century, though there is, as there is with nearly all of the Canonical and Non-canonical documents, disagreement among scholars as to its exact age and origin. Some date at least portions of the document to being as early as any of the books found in the Canon. Early Church tradition held that the 'Didache' was written by the Twelve Apostles themselves, though this is considered highly unlikely today. There are some who believe that the Didache arose from the same community as the author of the Gospel of Matthew, which very well may explain the similarity of the Lord's Prayer found within the two.  There is a very good reason, in my opinion, to believe that the Lord's Prayer originated in that mysterious document that we've discussed before known as “Q” or Quelle meaning source in German.  

There is a very real possibility that portions at least of the Didache date back to the time that Christ still walked physically upon the Earth.  I will deviate slightly and quote for you a portion of the Didache that you likely have never heard.
Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life. 

We would do well to remember that even though the Didache did not make it into the official Canon, it was a document that the early Church used and viewed as important if not in fact Sacred.  Remember they believed that these verses were crafted by the Twelve Apostles themselves.  It's long been my own personal opinion that the loss of these verses that I just read for you have been a poverty for each of us.  The Didache spells out fairly concisely and clearly the evil that we need to avoid at all cost in this world.

But, let's steer back to the topic at hand for today... the “Lord's Prayer”, and take a closer look at this prayer that we all have memorized. First, we'll take a look at 'The Lord's Prayer' as found in Matthew's Gospel:

Matthew 6:7-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Now, let's look at Luke's version again;

Luke 11:1-4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Lord’s Prayer
1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

A much more abbreviated form of the Prayer for certain.

Now let's look at this Prayer as found in the Didache.

Didache 8:2
Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray ye:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done,
as in heaven, so also on earth;
give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our debt,
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one;
for Thine is the power and the glory forever and ever.
Three times in the day pray ye so.

This certainly, sounds much more like the Prayer we're used to reciting. It's actually very nearly the same, did you catch that last verse though? “Three times in the day, pray ye so”. For many years the base of my prayer life was to recite the Lord's Prayer throughout the day. To be honest, I am not at all certain that this isn't what we are supposed to do. Certainly, it serves as a great reminder and it is significant that the Didache, which is basically a how-to manual, tells us to repeat this prayer three times daily.

And finally, let's look at the Lord's Prayer as nearly all of us recite it today. We're going to break this down bit by bit as we go along.

Our Father who art in Heaven,
First off we address God here. We are calling out to God in his name. 'Our Father in Heaven', no earthly parent here but our Father God. Now the Lord's Prayer isn't the most 'gender-inclusive' Prayer that we have. So please forgive me if you are sensitive to the issue of inclusive language. The fact remains that Jesus himself referred to God as God the Father. In fact, generally, Jesus referred to God as 'Abba'. Which basically translates as Daddy. For Jesus, there is both a sense of reverence and familiarity in addressing his God. God the Father who art in Heaven, and Abba, Daddy. I think it serves us well to retain these competing natures of our God.

Hallowed be thy name;
God's name is sacred. He is Holy, he is set apart from all other God's, he is the one and only true God. His name is so sacred that the ancient Jews and many orthodox Jews to this day will not say or even spell out his name. I have several friends who write God's name as G-d. This isn't uncommon, to be honest. God's name is Holy and we say it with a sense of reverence, even when we address him as Abba.

Thy kingdom come;
Note that it doesn't say we're going to God's Kingdom, rather God's Kingdom is coming here.  It's best to remember that this is not an earthly Kingdom that is coming into this world, but God's Kingdom, it's a Kingdom in God's fashion of a Kingdom and not a Kingdom as fashioned by nor even truly understood by us mere humans.

Thy will be done
Not my will or any other humans will, but God's will. Here we are pledging to be God's hands and feet. We are to aid him in establishing his will.

On earth, as it is in heaven.
And that will is not only in Heaven but here on this earth. We've already addressed that his Kingdom is coming and that it's his will that we are to be concerned with.  The God that reigns in Heaven reigns here on earth and we celebrate that God.

Give us this day our daily bread;
It seems that we've made a change here rather suddenly. We've gone from caring about God's work and will to petitioning for our own needs. The keyword here is the word that is translated as 'daily'. It is the Greek word 'epiousios', and we'll come back to this word in just a minute. Let's finish the prayer first.

And forgive us our debts, (or trespasses/sins)
As we forgive our debtors; (or those that trespass/sin against us)
Here we have this desire for grace and forgiveness, God's desire for reconciliation. A desire for reconciliation not only between us and God but between all of us here.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors/trespasses/sins.
Matthew urges that this grace between us is so crucial that God's grace towards us even hinges upon it.

Matthew 16:14-15:
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
God, please keep us away from temptation. For we know that we are weak. Lead us away from temptation. Do not lead us toward the time of trial or temptation, and rescue us from evil or the evil one. All too often, that evil one is our own ego and pride.  I am certain that you have heard me say before if you want to see Satan, look in the mirror.

For thine is the kingdom
And the power
And the glory,
Forever.  Amen
This last part is known as the 'Doxology' and did you happen to notice that only one of the sources for the Lord's Prayer that we looked at contains the Doxology. I am not aware of any manuscripts of Luke that contain the Doxology and the earliest and best manuscripts of Matthew do not contain it either, though it is in many later manuscripts. One has to wonder if the Doxology for the Lord's Prayer didn't come to us from the Didache itself. It seems fairly obvious that it was not part of the original text of Matthew.  The Didache was very much a how-to manual for the Early Church.

Let's back-up just a bit and go back to that line:
Give us this day our daily bread;
As I pointed out it seems that we've made a change here, we've gone from caring about God's work and will to petitioning for our own personal needs. And as I said here the keyword is the word translated as 'daily' the Greek word 'epiousios'.

Epiousios is a very, very interesting word. The only real problem is that we don't actually know what the word means. You see this word exists in exactly three places, it is only found in these three readings of the “Lord's Prayer”. And since for many, many years the Didache was lost, for much of Christian History we have only had two sources for this unknown word, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Now since we find this prayer in only Matthew and Luke, and not in Mark's Gospel, it is highly likely, as I stated earlier, that it originated in that undiscovered but hypothesized Document known as 'Q' or 'The Source'.

At one time a fragment of papyrus was discovered that reportedly contained the word Epiousios upon it. This fragment appeared to be a 'shopping list', with words in Greek such as beans, or rice, or bread or such, and after each word, there was the word Epiousios. Based on this the scholar that translated the document hypothesized that Epiousios meant something along the lines of 'enough for tomorrow'. Which made sense in a culture that didn't have storage or refrigeration and where one typically goes to the market each day. There was only one problem... after the papyrus was examined by this scholar, and this scholar only... it was misplaced within the collection of the museum that held it. For a very long time, it remained lost again until it was found not long ago and additional Greek Scholars were able to finally look at it.

Well unfortunately for us the word that followed each item such as beans, rice or bread wasn't Epiousios at all. Rather it was a word that translates to 'oil'. So what we have here is of no use to us as an aid in the discernment of the meaning behind the Lord's Prayer but one that is interesting none the less. For you see I have a theory about this papyrus. I believe that a wife back in that time sent her husband to the market to get oil. As all of us husbands have done at one time or another, this poor soul came home with all kinds of things but no oil. Well, the next time he's sent to the market, his loving wife wrote the list as... beans – OIL, rice – OIL, bread – OIL... and so on. It's interesting that in all these many centuries some dynamics of marital life have remained the same. But that's just my theory of course.

But, back to just what does Epiousios mean and how did it come to be translated as daily. Well in the fourth century St. Jerome was commissioned by the Pope to translate the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. This was the first translation of the Bible in its entirety into Latin. When Jerome came to Epiousios he was uncertain just what to do so in Luke he translated it one way as 'Daily' and in Matthew, he translated it differently. In our modern Bibles only the translation from Luke the word 'Daily' remains and the meaning assigned by Jerome in Matthew has been largely forgotten.

If we break down the word Epiousios we find that 'epi' means 'above', 'beyond' or 'super', 'ousios' means substance, essence or necessity. We come up with the word that Jerome used when translating the Gospel of Matthew, 'Supersubstantial'. Above substantial, super essential, beyond necessity... these all give us a considerable different meaning than 'daily'.

Now we no longer have 'daily' bread but 'supersubstantial' bread, 'super essential' bread, bread that is 'beyond that what is necessary for mere survival'. When we consider that Christ used bread as a metaphor, we have, well the Eucharist, we have Communion, we have the bread of life, we have Christ himself...

We no longer have feed us for we are hungry, but feed us for we hunger. We hunger for that relationship with God that comes through the celebration of the Lord's Supper, through the ceremonial celebration of communion. This point is precisely why the Stone/Campbell Church movement placed such great emphasis on the celebration of communion that it was and still is celebrated not once a month as most Christian denominations do but weekly.  It is why the celebration of the table is central to the worship service itself.

It is very important that we remember that when Christ taught this prayer to his Disciples, he almost certainly did not teach it to them in Greek. Rather he almost certainly taught it to them in Aramaic. We are left wondering what word or words did he use here that forced the writer of 'Q' to have to create a new word in Greek in order to try and grasp the depth of the meaning. It would seem unlikely that it was a word as mundane as daily. A word which I understand can be rendered by at least 20 different ancient Greek words none of which is epiousios.

Let's look at the Lord's Prayer again with this idea of the bread being 'Christ' foremost in our minds.

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day a deep and enduring relationship with Christ;
And forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who have sinned against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom
And the power
And the glory,

Suddenly, that prayer takes on a whole new meaning. A new deep theological meaning that honestly my modest preaching and teaching skills fail to adequately convey. But be that as it may, perhaps now you'll think about the Lord's Prayer just a bit differently whenever you pray it. Which by the way is supposed to be three times a day.

And here's just a little challenge from the pulpit, let's all try and pray this prayer at least three times a day for the next week. Thinking about this alternate and different meaning as we do so, let's see if it has any impact on our lives and our relationship with Christ.

Let's end this sermon on prayer with a prayer.

God above, Father, Abba
Holy, Sacred and Revered Lord.

We pledge our hands, our feet, our hearts and our spirits

to you Oh Lord, to fashion this world as you
would desire.

Let us ever be your emissaries of Love,

Charity, Grace and Forgiveness in this world.

Let us follow the model that you have given us, of Jesus who is the Christ, as we pursue your perfect example of grace and love to this broken world.

Allow us Oh Lord to come into communion and relationship with you. Give us the strength of body, mind and spirit that we require to serve you.

We pray for your protection from those that would oppose and harm us, and from our own sinful and selfish egos. Grant us the ability to discern the evil that lurks in the heart of mankind.

Oh Lord guide us steadfastly down your path of Forgiveness, Grace, Charity and Love onto this world.

For yours alone Oh Lord, is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, until the very end of all time.   Amen