November 14, 2014

Homilies on the "Lord's Prayer", Also Known as the "Our Father" (9 of 9)

...continued from part eight.

"For Yours Is The Kingdom And The Power And The Glory Unto The Ages. Amen."

The Lord's Prayer, known as the "Our Father", which we have now interpreted every Sunday for the past two months this summer, begins with the salutation of God as Father, it continues with seven requests made to God, and it ends with the firm faith in God as King and in His power. "For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory unto the ages. Amen." This means that to Him belongs the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.

The rationale of this conclusion gives man courage. For since God is King and has great power, and since man has such an affectionate Father and powerful Ruler and Lord of the world, this means that we can conquer the evil devil with the power of God and we will be glorified with the God of Glory.

And as a seal to this faith of the one praying He includes also the word "amen", which is a Hebrew word and is translated into the words "verily" or "truly". When the word "amen" is used in worship it indicates a confirmation of the people to the prayer and blessing of the priest, and is thus interpreted as "so be it", or "may it take place". In the Apocalypse of John the Theologian, Christ also characterizes Himself as the "Amen", which means He is the true Lord who keeps His promises. "Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness" (Rev. 3:14).

Let us take a look at these three words - "kingdom", "power" and "glory".

The word "kingdom" refers to the political system of that time, in which the dominant position was held by the King/Emperor, who had an army and absolute sovereignty in the Kingdom. Christ is also considered a King, but His Kingdom is of another kind and origin. Characteristic is the discussion between Pilate and Christ on this subject. To Pilate's question if He was the King of the Jews, Christ flatly replied: "My Kingdom is not of this world" (Jn. 19:36). He did not say that His Kingdom was not in the world, but that it does not have its origin in this world. It is a spiritual kingdom associated with the reception of the Grace of God and the vision of the glory of God.

The word "power" also has a spiritual dynamic, it is the sovereignty of love and the energies of the Holy Spirit, and it has no relation with worldly power imposed by weapons and secular rule. It is the power of the Cross, which externally appears as weak, but it is that which abolishes both worldly power and authority. Also, this power is the power of the Holy Spirit, which is why Christ told His disciples that they would receive power with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). And with this power they defeated all worldly power.

The word "glory" is related to the uncreated energy of God. With the appearance of the angel to the shepherds on the day Christ was born "the glory of the Lord shined around them" (Lk. 1:8). The glory of Christ is His divinity and this is why glory shines in the hearts of Christians "to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). Those who partake of this glory of God are glorified, and not just honored, but they shine with the Grace and energy of God.

When one has such a Father Who has a kingdom, power and glory and rules the entire world, but also loves humanity, they cannot be disturbed, they cannot be disappointed, even if they are found in the most difficult situations and endure the greatest temptations.

The Lord's Prayer, the "Our Father", is a powerful prayer, and it has spiritual meaning precisely because it was taught to us by Christ. It has great value, because it shows the love and glory of God, and from us who pray we can ask for spiritually good things, the transformation of our existence, our relationship and communion with God, the victory against temptations and the evil one, the remission of our sins.

We must often pray with the words of this prayer. Besides, it was given to us from Christ with this command: "Therefore, pray this way" (Matt. 6:9). And we must pray with attention, a concentrated mind, faith in God and hope in the fact that God is listening to us, is protecting us and loves us. It is a prayer that begins with the invocation of God as Father and ends with the doxology of His Kingdom, power and glory.

However, when we pray with attention and devotion we must at the same time struggle to feel that we are not orphans. For it is terrible to pray to God the Father and to feel at the same time that we do not have a Father and that we are alone and unprotected in the world. Nor should we feel that we are the "only children" of God.

When we pray with this Lord's Prayer and in the "spirit" which we analyzed in these short sermons, then we will see miracles in our lives, our existence will be reborn and we will be made worthy to enter the Kingdom of God, into the glory of Paradise and eternal life.

Source One and Two: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, June - August 2005. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

The booklet Homilies on the Lord's Prayer by Metropolitan Hierotheos can be purchased here.