Our Divine Source

On July 28, 2019, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Our Divine Source Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Luke 11.1-13 Let us dwell together in peace, let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Jesus’ disciples say to Jesus, “Teach us to pray like John does for his disciples.” […]

Our Divine Source
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Luke 11.1-13

Let us dwell together in peace, let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Jesus’ disciples say to Jesus, “Teach us to pray like John does for his disciples.” These are religious people. They have been praying their whole lives. But they want to pray like Jesus. His prayers suggest an intimacy with God, and a trust that good things are meant to happen. They want to pray like that!

Now, all of the apostles suffered, as did Jesus. Jesus was crucified, as were several of his apostles. One was flayed to death, two were beaten to death, one was beheaded…so, clearly praying like Jesus doesn’t mean getting everything you want or never facing difficulties.

But in spite of difficulties, Jesus’ prayers seemed to remind him that God was always near, and that God’s love was dependable.

Jesus’ prayers did bless people, and make them feel whole and hopeful. Teach us to pray like that, Lord!
We want our prayers to make us know that there’s not a spot where God is not.
We want our prayers to help us go to peace instead of to pieces.
We want our prayers to make others feel better and live happier. Teach us to pray like that, Lord.

So Jesus gave them a sample prayer.
He suggested thinking of God as a loving, gracious, generous friend or caregiver. Jesus used the word “Abba” (a parental figure), but any name that makes you feel safe and loved will do. I like Big Mama God, and that’s in the ballpark of Abba.

After knowing God to be loving and nurturing, affirm God as good, goodness itself. Hallowed is your name. You are holy, All Good.

And then, Jesus said, affirm God’s nearness. Your dominion will come, it is coming, it is here within us.

Once you’ve recognized God as loving, good, and present, now ask God to help you meet today’s needs. Give us our daily bread.

And then ask God for spiritual, inner healing. Ask God to help clean up the inside, because when the inside is good, the outside will seem a lot better. When you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Orange juice. What’s inside is what comes out. Nothing else can.
So forgive us our mistakes, our pettiness, our bitterness, our selfishness, our lack of concern for the oppression and suffering of others….forgive, heal the inside so that what we express can be more beautiful.

And, of course, part of what needs healing are the grudges we have nursed and rehearsed over the years. So forgive us, and help us forgive others.

And finally, save us from the time of trial. Save us from giving up too soon. Save us from fear. We know that the way over problems is through them…so don’t leave us in our messes, help us move through them. Save us from our dramas, don’t let us get stuck in them.

That’s the Lord’s prayer, the prayer Jesus taught, the model he gave.

God is present and is good, is able to help us live one day at a time with peace and joy, offers inner healing, and gives us the grace to know that hell is something we go through, not to.

Acknowledge God’s loving presence and infinite goodness.
Ask God for grace to live this day well.
Ask God for inner healing because if the inside is good, then only good will come from us. And that healing may mean some forgiveness work on our part.
And we’re going to step in it sometimes, so when that happens, trust God to help you move through it to better days.
That’s how to pray like Jesus.

Now, what can we know for certain that we will receive from praying like that?

Jesus says if your neighbor needs a cup of flower, you’d probably help them out. Even if it wasn’t terribly convenient.
And if your kid wanted a snack, you’d give them an apple or a banana or juice box, not a rock.
You want to be kind and generous. Those are divine impulses. Your ability and desire to be good, even sometimes, is a witness to the infinite goodness of God.

My first night ever in a gay bar in the mid80s was a magical night. I was surrounded by gay folks. All together, all having a good time together. Men and women, all ages…some out, many not…just together being who God made us each to be. It was glorious. Now I call it any given afternoon on Wilton Drive, but that first time…I had found the Promised Land.

Our revelry that awesome night was interrupted by a shrill voice from the front door, “Girls! Get out here quick. Mary has driven her car into the ditch!” Mary by the way was a man known generally as Rick.

There was a sodomy law on the books. Preachers were saying AIDS was divine punishment against gays. Gays weren’t allowed in the military. If teachers were discovered to be gay they would be fired no questions asked. So, calling family or even AAA for help to rescue your car from Studio Homo on the edge of town really wasn’t an option. The kindness of strangers was the best hope.

40 queer folk ran out into the gravel covered parking lot to find a car leaning at a 45 degree angle in a 4 foot ditch. 40 people, at the time outlaws in our state and mostly strangers to one another surrounded that thankfully small car in the dark of night, and on three (1-2-3) hoisted it into the air and back down on level ground. One short, corpulent fellow shouted with glee, “I’ve never felt so butch!”

That was a god moment. That was love, kindness, and compassion in expression. Jesus says if 40 strangers can rush to save the day (or night as it happened), just know that is only a fraction of God’s willingness to lend a hand in your moment of need.
In fact, wasn’t it divine grace in, through, and as those parking lot good Samaritans that helped a soul in need that night?

Leave us not in the ditch of despair, but help us feel utterly fabulous again! That’s the Lord’s Prayer in action.

So ask, seek, knock. God hears. And God will respond.
And what will God give us? She hasn’t given me the mega millions hook up yet, and she hasn’t rigged elections for my various candidates, and God hasn’t showed me the effortless diet that you go one once and its results last forever…but God, according to Luke’s Jesus, has given me and all of us a promise.

If you can give your neighbor a cup of flour, or your kid a tasty snack, or a careless driver a boost out of a ditch, how much more will God give the holy Spirit to those who ask?!

The Spirit! God in us. God expressing…that’s what prayer guarantees, a deeper experience of God which often leads to other amazing blessings, but nothing could be greater than communion with our divine source!

God will help us experience God as life, love, wisdom, power and presence. God will give us peace, and hope, and the conviction that we are each God’s miracle and not God’s mistake. And, after all, isn’t that what Jesus had that made his followers say, “Lord, Teach us to pray like you do”?

Praying like Jesus reminds us that God is here as love to help us make the most of this day, to heal our inner wounds, and to help us move through the challenges of life. And as we turn to God in prayer, we can be sure that God is able, willing, and ready to give us unlimited experiences of peace, hope, and joy. And this is the good news. Amen.

Omnipresent, divine Love,
Help us to heal our world.
Minister to our every need.
Forgive our mistakes,
And help us be more forgiving.
Do not leave us in our fears,
But bring us through and out of them.
Amen.

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