As Scripture Snippets go, this is the snippiest so far!
In a recent sermon I heard, Simon Virgo suggested that one way to meditate more deeply on scripture would be to spend time thinking about each individual word.
Having been led to The Lord’s Prayer today, I thought it was worth a try.
Our: the Christian faith is corporate, not individual. It’s about being a family, a body. The Father isn’t just my father but ours, together. We are all equal in our value and sonship – we all come to him on the same footing.
Father: God is relational. Without him we would not even exist. The term ‘father’ to me speaks of love and authority, of someone realisable you can turn to for anything, of someone fun and creative, generous and wise. Someone capable, and always willing to help. Someone who teaches me things and does projects with me. I don’t always think of that full richness of experience when I think about God; I should.
In: hmm…what to say about this one? He’s in as opposed to out, over, above. I suppose it is a present-tense word – he’s there now. And he’s God in heaven not of heaven… I might need to mull over that one for a bit.
Heaven: why does it matter that he is in heaven not elsewhere? Maybe Jesus was making a contrast with the pagan gods of the day who were depicted as being in the substance of creation (eg in the trees, or perhaps even in ‘the heavens’). To me, making the point that he is in heaven has always seemed a distancing thing, when lots of other teaching emphasises his closeness. This was taught to the disciples before the Holy Spirit was given, though even then/now the Father is a different person to the Holy Spirit, so perhaps Jesus was making a point about the Father being elsewhere. Heaven emphasises his holiness and ‘other-ness’ – perhaps it is a guard against over-familiarity?
But also heaven is real. It’s an actual place that he is in, not just a concept…
Those are my thoughts – you’ve probably got lots more. Or why not take the next phrase and see what it yields for you.
I don’t think the technique would work for every phrase in the Bible, but it’s a way of approaching study differently for a change, isn’t it? What do you think?