Thy Kingdom Come – “Lord, teach us to pray…a prodigal child”

 

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A father wraps a faltering hand around the head of a beloved son and draws him into his chest.  The son savours each moment – either because he never thought he’d get the chance to be here again or because he knows that one day it will all be taken away and never return.

It is a deeply personal story that some of us will know or it is the story of The Prodigal Son.

It is a reminder of the God who waits at the window – desperate for his tearaway child to return home or it is the story of Israel who finds herself in exile.

Either way, a father’s longing heart breaks as the child drifts a bit and soon he seems to forget who he is and what he is for.  The image of the Father has faded until you can barely see it.

The Lord’s Prayer… Our Father in Heaven.

The father is faithful. As the son asks for the inheritance he, effectively, wishes his father dead and breaks the family ties (or the covenant if you’re reading the story of Israel between the lines) but the father remains faithful, patient, determined.  Desperate for the chance to gallop up the path should the child come to his senses and into view.

To all who desire it, he offers the right to be children again (cf John 1)

The Lord’s Prayer… Hallowed be your name

When the homecoming BBQ is over and it is time to hang up the robe, the child is surely faced with a dilemma that the story doesn’t cover. How to respond.

The hand around the back of the head and the underserved embrace changed everything – grace does that. Honouring the Father’s name is what is required now.  The child (this child, every child) may have forgotten who he is and what he is for but the Father never did.  Because real Fathers never do.

The gospels go on to speak of another embrace (God’s arms outstretched like never before or since) which has restored the status and the resemblance and there is no turning back. The Father grants the right to be a child again.

And this is how the new creation breaks into the old.  This is how light fights back the darkness.

The Lord’s Prayer…#ThyKigdomCome

 

Thy Kingdom Come – “Praying With Bread”

33 Jesus told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.”  (Matthew 13:33)

bread

 

Ever since I was a child I have loved making bread.  There has been something very special about combining very simple ingredients, making a sticky gooey mess, and using your hands to knead it an work it into a smooth elastic dough.  Leave it in a warm place for ½ hour and it doubles in size.  And then you shape it and pop it in the oven.  And then there is the wonderful aroma that apparently sells houses.  I was talking to a fellow breadmaking enthusiast today and she said, “every time I make bread, a miracle happens!”

There is one active ingredient:  yeast.  Just 1 teaspoon, when combined fully into the flour, has the power to transform the dough into something wonderful.

Recently I have started to use the bread making process to pray.  I am not an expert prayer, nor am I an expert bread-maker.  But last night a group of us went on a journey together to make bread, and pray at the same time.  We thought of a person or situation that we wanted to pray for.  And we combined flour, salt, water and yeast together.  There was a point when it was chaos as each of us had a sticky gooey mess.  But gradually as we all wrestled with and punched the dough, it became a prayer.  A hardworking tough prayer, but a prayer nonetheless.

We put our bread in bowls and waited for them to rise, and to everyone’s delight, they rose!  We shaped them into symbols which represented our prayers and our faith.  And then baked them.

Yesterday I made a loaf and it was only when nearly all the water was added, I remembered I hadn’t put the yeast in!  I put it in with the rest of the water and hoped for the best.  The results were a bit of a disaster.  It struck me that yeast, is very powerful, even though the amount you use is tiny.  But if it’s not fully integrated throughout the dough, the loaf ends up bulgy and lumpy.

Let’s imagine for a minute that we are the yeast.  Do we decide to stay in the tin/sachet?  Or do we mix ourselves with flour (amid the world’s injustice) and allow that transformation to happen?  Bishop Laurie Green says,

“They say faith is personal – not to be let out of the bottle. But with Jesus, though small in number, working alongside the troubled & heavy-laden, we see his transforming Kingdom come ‘on earth as in Heaven!’”

Here is a picture of the bread made by our “star baker” last night.  Just one of many examples of how a sticky mess was transformed into something beautiful yesterday evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets ask God how we might be transformed by his divine yeast today, as we place ourselves and our world into the hands of the Divine Breadmaker.  And let’s also think about how we can, with His help, be the yeast in our society today.