Lords Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount

U. Luz, in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Bible, is cited as saying that the Sermon on the Mount has been built around the Lord’s Prayer as its centerpiece.  Not having his work, this week our intrepid adult class will use the text, some scissors and tape to attempt to correlate sections of the Sermon to the 7 phrases of the Prayer.

Do you want to play? 

The phrases of the Prayer: 1.  Our Father in heaven 2.  hallowed be your name 3. your kingdom come  4.  your will be done… 5. give us ….bread 6.  Forgive us…as we forgive 7.  Lead us not…but deliver.

The units, based on NIV divisions:

(5:1-12; 5:13-16; 5:17-20; 5:21-26; 5:27-30; 5:31-32; 5:33-37; 5:38-42; 5:43-48; 6:1-4; 6:5-8; 6:9-15; 6:16-18; 6:19-24; 6:25-34; 7:1-6; 7:7-12; 7:13-14; 7:15-23; 7:24-29)

Have fun, I will post my results next week.

Carlin, Dylan, Ecclesiastes and Jesus – Matthew 6

 What about “you can not serve both God and Money” found in Matthew 6:24? 

Here is Carlin, Dylan and Qoheleth:

The late comedian George Carlin had a funny piece about our stuff.  He said,

That is the whole meaning of life, trying to find a place to put your stuff.  That’s all your house is: a pile of stuff with a cover on it.  Everybody’s got their own pile of stuff.  When you leave your stuff you’ve got to lock it up.  You wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take your stuff.  They always take your good stuff.  That’s all your house is; a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

            Bob Dylan wrote this:


You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
            But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
            You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
            Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
            But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

            Consider this from Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, [25] for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? [26] For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.


Context and the Lord’s Prayer

So if you go to a bookstore or to Amazon and look for treatment of the Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13, you will find a ton.  Have you been to church recently, then you have probably heard a sermon or sermons on the subject.  Have you been to a funeral, then you probably recited it, as the crowd said “debts” and “trespasses” at the same time.  (Both are OK since Luke uses the word for “trespass” and Matthew for “debt”).

Here is a thought.  What if you read the prayer it it’s setting.  In Matthew it is in chapter 6, which has at the start the theme of religion, piety or spiritual disciplines.  The verses cover giving to the poor (a surprisingly common theme in scripture if you take note of it), prayer and fasting. 

What is interesting and what we are pondering this week is the prevalence of the phrase “our/your father/in heaven”.  (5:14; 6:1; 6:4; 6:6; 6:8; 6:9; 6:14; 6:15; 6:18; 6:26; 6:32; 7:11 – see also 5:9 “sons”; 7:3 “brother’s eye”; 7:9 “son”;  7:11 “children”)

Some call “the Lord’s Prayer” the “Our Father” as those are the first words.  so then here is the question.  How does this theme of God as Father permeate and flavor the Lord’s Prayer?

  • “Hallowed by thy name” – Familial honor and love.
  • Kingdom – are Kingship and Fatherhood related?
  • Daily Bread – don’t we eat with our families?

Consider this a lead, not a conclusion.  It could be a red herring.  However, I think that the idea of piety or spirituality in Jesus’ teaching is very personal.  The focus is on God, with whom we have a relationship.  It is not on the processes we use to gather power or merit. Do we need to repeat our prayers incessantly when God is our Father – rather like those kids at the grocery story who plead, cry, hold their breaths and kick until they get that candy bar…..