Friday, January 6, 2017
A Most Dangerous Prayer: Part 3
In the next praise of the Our Father, though, we don't merely look to something that will come. No, we pledge to bring about that conversion in the present. We pledge to abide right now in the same state of affairs as we look to in heaven, albeit in lesser circumstances.
We pray, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Do we have any idea of the extraordinary challenge Jesus throws downs in telling us to pray with these words? How is it that God's will is done is heaven? It is negotiable? Is it something the citizens of heaven can form into something more self serving? No, God's will in heaven is absolute. There is nothing that acts against God's will in heaven. Nothing! What is this will? Well, St John, repeatedly tells us this will is love. This love is not mixed with any self -interest, it is totally self giving. One would imagine where this will to love is perfectly done that there is nothing of division, pain, loss, sorrow, guilt, or any other fruit of sin. Read that list again. See what we commit ourselves to in praying these words, "Your will be done on earth as it is heaven."
To be honestly prayed takes an act of the will to desire to actively engage in the evangelization of such love in the world around us. Notice, we say 'on earth' and not a more narrow focus of, say, our family or home. We do not pledge to carry the life of divine love into just the safe and accepting, but into the entire planet. As those who pray this, we are making a commitment to be ambassadors of God to this world. It is no surprise that Jesus would have us pray such, as He repeatedly beckons His followers to get about the business of the Kingdom. When we pray these words, we are saying that it is my will that God's will should be done here and now as it is for eternity in heaven.
Jesus spells out what this life of love looks like. It is the Gospel that is preached to us (hopefully) day in and day out. This is much more than be privately held kind or being a social justice warrior. It is the ordering of one's life completely in the love of God and making invitation for others to do the same. The love of God is not forced upon us. It is to be a freely and frequently accepted gift from God. Hence, the way we live the life of spreading the Gospel should be as well...a free and frequently given gift. As Matthew 10:4 , "Freely you have received, freely give." The Christian's love on earth is to mirror the love of God in heaven!
Now, this phrase can also be a pledge of our obedience and desire to live as a son or daughter of God, or it can be another self-incrimination of our own disobedience. We must look at what our actions and such say. Again, correct words hurled at God's direction are far from enough. Our actions must back this up, As I John 4:20 reminds us, "If one says, "I love God" and hates his brother, He is a liar!" When we look at the seeds we sow in our actions and words, do we sow divine love or weeds? We cannot go both ways here and still be authentic to the words we pray. We cannot rejoice in the failure, death, or punishment of those we do not like and still be ambassadors of God.
A good exercise for those who use social media, for example, is to look at your posts, the things you share and like, and such. What do they provoke and promote? If we are to say, "Your will be done on earth as it is heaven," then we must use that as the measure by which we comment, act, and speak. This tiny phrase sets a high standard, just as all things Jesus gives us do. That Jesus would have us pray this when approaching the father, tells us much of the expectation He has of us.