From the 8th – 15th, of May, the Week running up to Pentecost, the Church of England is especially celebrating the Lord’s Prayer and using it to pray for renewal in church and Nation. Full details of this celebration can be found on the Thy Kingdom Come website.
As part of that celebration I am posting over the next seven days the sequence of sonnets I have written on the Lord’s Prayer which will be published at the end of this month in my new book Parable and Paradox Here is the first of them. In this sonnet I am trying to recover the sense of sheer surprise and grace the disciples must have experienced on first being given this prayer. They all knew that Jesus had a special relationship with the Father, that he was in some sense ‘the only begotten Son’, and when they asked him to teach them how to pray I’m sure they did not expect to share the intimate words he shared with his Father, but rather to be given a form of prayer suited to their lowly status as servants or disciples. They must have been utterly astonished to be invited to pray, just as Jesus did, to pray as already beloved children! This poem is voiced for one of the disciples expressing that astonishment.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.
I heard him call you his beloved son
And saw his Spirit lighten like a dove,
I thought his words must be for you alone,
Knowing myself unworthy of his love.
You pray in close communion with your Father,
So close you say the two of you are one,
I feel myself to be receding further,
Fallen away and outcast and alone.
And so I come and ask you how to pray,
Seeking a distant supplicant’s petition,
Only to find you give your words away,
As though I stood with you in your position,
As though your Father were my Father too,
As though I found his ‘welcome home’ in you.