A meditation on the Lord’s Prayer designed for outdoor worship.
This meditation was originally produced for Walk Church, an initiative of Rev’d Alex Bienfait, Rector of Biddenden and Smarden, Kent. Walk Church is an experimental congregation that celebrates God in the outdoors. http://scbcofe.org/walk-church-what-is-it/
Pre-reflection – to support mindful connection with the place.
The purpose of the pre-reflection is to help participants connect with where they are and initiate thoughts that will resonate with the main meditation. Key images are those of transformation, the reality of the unseen and inter-connection/interdependence above and below. We will have stopped in a suitable area along the walk.
Become aware of your feet and the way your feet are placed on the ground.
Beneath is the soil, moist from recent rain and heated by the Summer sun.
We are surrounded by green leaves. Leaves filled with chlorophyll; that incredible element that transforms sunlight into food for plants while at the same time producing oxygen. The food for plants and oxygen – the basis of all life.
Imagine the roots beneath your feet of the trees and plants that surround us; the unseen, yet essential life support for all the plants we can see as they rise above the ground.
This greenness is visible to us because of the sunlight filtering through the clouds. We do not see the light, but we see by the light.
We can take our mind upwards beyond the clouds to where the sun shines whatever the weather. And then beyond and upwards through the earth’s atmosphere and up into outer space.
Space – that enormous expansive mass that science is now discovering through the use of spacecraft cameras. The human mind cannot encompass the huge size nor the light years that it takes for images to reach us from such distance. We are faced with concepts without boundaries and time scales that reach backwards and forwards into eternity.
Last week we remembered 50 years since men landed on the moon – a tremendous act. This is when we first saw that image of the Earth sent back to us from the moon – blue and green, floating like a jewel in the blackness.
So beautiful and moving – God’s precious creation, our home.
And here we are, at home, with our feet on the Planet, our feet on this tiny part of the Earth, playing our part in this incredible network of life.
Meditation on The Lord’s Prayer
‘Our Father who art in Heaven’
Heaven – I’m going to invite you to consider your own personal concept of Heaven.
What and where is Heaven for you? What images and concepts come forward in your mind when you hear the word ‘Heaven’?
Ancient peoples have long thought of Heaven as being above the sky.
Jesus ascended into Heaven, moving upwards into space.
In classical art Heaven is represented by the colour blue.
But then Jesus speaks of Heaven’s seed being within our hearts.
Perhaps Heaven can be anywhere that God is? And God is everywhere. So perhaps there is a possibility of Heaven being right here and now in this present moment.
‘Hallowed be thy name’
Let us consider how it feels for a moment when someone calls our name.
When someone who loves us calls our name.
How do we respond? How do our hearts respond?
Do we feel a sense of warmth, recognition, communication, communion?
How might God feel when we call his name?
When we make a call on his heart, when we open our hearts to him – Surely we create a space for great and holy communion… and possibilities…..
‘Thy Kingdom Come’
And what is our part when we call for God’s Kingdom to come?
Jesus has brought us back through God’s name to the place of Heaven – God’s Kingdom. And then forward to a place of hope in the future.
When and where is God’s Kingdom going to come?
Do we need to wait? Or do we need to act?
Does God’s Kingdom exist out there, somewhere in the Universe?
Or is it growing from in here within our hearts?
‘Thy will be done’
God’s will? How do we know what that is?
From the teaching of the Bible. Through the words of wise men and women down the ages? Through our own consciences and inner sense of right and wrong?
There are a number of ways to discern God’s will. But what we do know is that God’s will needs to be done.
We must act. It is more than thinking and desiring; the will of God needs to be present in what we do.
‘On Earth as it is in Heaven’
On Earth. Our feet are on the Earth. We are earth. We are made of carbon like every other thing on the Planet.
Just for a moment please draw your attention to your feet once again. Think about how your feet are placed, and adjust them so that you are equally balanced on both feet. Think about yourself as strong and rooted to the Earth.
This is your life on Earth – your moment on the Planet.
And above us the sky and beyond the stars, the Universe, Heaven.
Above and beyond us, out of reach, yet intensely available – the vision of God, a Kingdom of love.
So, let us see if we can draw this thought down into our hearts, to the place where the presence of Christ’s love resonates; that great love that has broken the bonds of death – our bridge between Earth and Heaven.
And as that link strongly warms and inspires us, may Jesus’ power come to fruition as Heaven works its way to our world.
‘Give us this day our daily bread’
Our bread, our food, our needs.
What have we eaten today?
Did we feel grateful to God for his gifts, or did we eat without thought?
Did we consider where our food came from? The cost to our Planet, the wellbeing of other creatures and other people?
Our desires and needs are strong, we take up space, we take up energy, we need help to regulate our habits and get it right.
This may be a moment when you recognise a need to make changes. We are free to confess to God our mistakes and ask for help to do things in a better way….
‘Forgive us our trespasses’
Trespasses – the inevitability of life.
The inevitability of failure.
The inevitability of weakness.
The inevitability of our need for Christ’s forgiveness.
But here we are forgiven!
Here we are loved. Here we are in a constant stream of potential change in the river of the love of God.
The love that makes all things new, and lifts us, and transforms us into living children of God.
And here we can truly know ourselves.
‘And lead us not into temptation’
We pray that God will protect us from making poor choices, and keep us on paths that will ultimately lead to the building of God’s Kingdom, both in our hearts and in the world.
‘But deliver us from Evil’
Delivered from the powers of evil, through Christ’s most precious blood, we can stand tall and confident as we face the world.
Trusting and praising God we now say all together –
For thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory for ever and ever.