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.
10 responses to “7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 1 Our Father”
May we daily live “as though your Father were our Father too…and find his ‘welcome home’ in you.” – Amen!
I recommend to all to take the time to view the video found at the Thy Kingdom Come link: http://thykingdom.co.uk/ – it is so well done and meaningful.
Thanks for sharing all this with us Malcolm,
Beautiful words that truly convey a disciple mystified at such simple wonder. What else could they have expected for the Lord to say? In the Psalms we see prayers to the Lord, yet here we see Jesus revealing and inviting them to intimacy with the Father. I hope this touches someone who lives distant from their earthly father, or who has never known the love of a father. It has touched me.
Thanks Bren. I share that same hope
Very good; His ‘welcome home’ dresses us in the best robe.
It’s interesting that in Matthew Christ begins with “your Father” chap 5: 16; then goes on to “my Father” chap 7: 21; and “the Father” in chap 11: 27. John goes the other way, only referring to “my Father” and “your Father” when He is risen. The disciples hearing “the Lord’s prayer” would have been taught already that God was their Father. Not that it takes away the wonder of it!
This is so powerful. Thank you for sharing your incredible gift so freely with us. Love and prayers xx
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