Although the NIV Bible does not include the final phrase that we pray every sunday, ‘For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever...‘ I do want us to consider its meaning and purpose in the prayer.
But first, a return to the story of Abraham to help us to experience the end of the Lord’s prayer. When God calls Abram, God not only promises a child, but a people, a nation, and a land. Walter Brueggemann says that this is God’s promise that Abraham and his descendants will have safety, security and status. But if you notice today’s verse, while Abraham does indeed see the fulfillment of the promise for a child, Isaac, the fulfillment of a land and a people if fulfilled long after his death. It is many generations and hundreds of years between Abrahams first step away from home, to Israel’s first step into the promised land and there is a great deal of adventure, chaos, joy, sorrow and life in between.
Lead us...Deliver us is the shocking admission in the Bible, that our future is uncertain, or at least, we experience it that way. We are not guaranteed constant peace, joy or success. And as much as the American Dream tells us that through hard work anything is possible, we know that sometimes trauma and tragedy comes into our lives no matter how hard we work to avoid it, no matter how little we deserve it. Instead Lead us... Deliver us is a prayer that we will not be dissuaded from the life of faith, from the persistent pursuit of justice and peace in the world, when trauma and tragedy comes.
Which is why the Lord’s prayer ends by taking us back to its beginning. ‘For thine is the...glory,‘ we pray, which loops back to ‘hallowed be thy name.‘ When the stress and strain seem to much, when we feel that too much is asked of us, when the pursuit of justice and peace leaves us hollowed out, we take up this prayer which reminds us of that which we sacrifice for, the glory of God. It draws us up, out of despair and into the very life of God, which is the life open to others and offered to others. That is the glory for which we pray, the glory which we experience, despite tough times, the glory of opening ourselves to receive others, of offering ourselves to others, and in the exchange, knowing the presence and power of the living God.
The closing line of the Lord’s prayer reminds us of why we are called to be disciples, which is, so that God’s name remains holy, that the kingdom of God is experienced, glimpsed by those who need it most, so that God’s will is put into action on earth.
Have you ever wondered what the point of faith and faithfulness is?