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Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Matthew 18:21-35; Matthew 6:5-15 Spot the common theme in all these sayings: –  I owe you an apology. –  How can I ever repay you? –  Give credit where it’s due. –  I’m forever in your debt. –  You robbed me of my dignity. –  You cost me my reputation. –  It’s pay-back time. All […]

Give us this day our daily bread

Exodus 16; Matthew 6:5-15 Many people are reluctant to pray “small prayers.” Often Christians have told me they wouldn’t bother God with their piddling requests, after all He’s got more important things to care about. It’s an odd position to take when you think about it.  As though the affairs of the world were getting […]

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 6:5-15 What is God up to in the world? Here’s a word to drop into conversation:  God is ouranifying the earth. Ouranos is the Greek word for heaven – it’s where we get the name for the planet “Uranus”.  And here Jesus tells us that God’s desire is to ouranify the earth.  […]

Thy kingdom come

Psalm 72; Matthew 6:5-15 First we remember who God is (Father) and where we have come in Christ in order to speak with Him (Heaven).  At this point the Lord’s Prayer is wonderfully personal.  The One on the throne is Father. Then we ask that the Lord’s gospel character (His name) be more richly prized […]

Hallowed be thy name

Isaiah 26:1-15; Matthew 5:5-15 This one needs some unpacking.  Firstly that archaic word “hallowed.” In modern English, the word “hallowed” is only really preserved for sports venues.  For a football supporter, Wembley is hallowed ground. For a cricket fan, Lord’s is hallowed turf. Hallowed means ‘regarded as holy.’ But “holy” needs explaining too.  It means […]

Our Father which art in heaven

Luke 11:1-12; Matthew 5:5-15 What does true prayer look like?  Luke chapter 11 gives us the ultimate picture: “It came to pass, that… Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray…”  (Luke 11:1-2) And from there, Jesus teaches them the Lord’s […]

Let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth

Isaiah 64; Matthew 6:1-4 There are many people who do good. Which is good. And there are many people who care nothing for any reputation for doing good. Which is also good. But seldom do both qualities coincide in one person. And that’s bad. In this world there are those who do good – and […]

Love your enemies

Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 5:38-48 What does divine perfection look like? Usually we think of God’s perfect nature as that which excludes.  You know the sort of thing – “God is perfect, you are not.  You’ve got a snowflakes chance in hell with a perfect God, etc, etc.” When we think like this it shows that we […]

Going the extra mile

Matthew 5:38-48 We think “going the extra mile” means giving 5-star service when much less would do.  It’s when you go “above and beyond” the call of duty to offer something special. But that’s not really what it meant originally.   Here’s how Jesus puts it in the sermon on the mount: “Ye have heard […]

Turn the other cheek

Exodus 21:12-36; Matthew 5:38-48 When we were moving through Exodus we came across the Old Testament law: “an eye for an eye.”  It limited the kind of retribution the injured party could pursue.  The law says you may exact only as much as it cost you.  There is to be no escalation of violence according […]