For thine is the
kingdom, the power, and
the glory, forever, amen.
(Understanding God Time)
The Lord’s Prayer began by grounding us in our relationship with the Father, and it ends now by solidifying our faith in that kinship. We have already talked about how the kingdom, power, and the glory of God are played out within the living hour; but most of us are not satisfied with this daily bread. We want to know that there is a divine plan, with a definitive beginning and end, that’s been arranged by the Father.
Our desire to see the culmination of God’s plan is what led Jesus’s early Jewish followers to believe that he was an earthly messiah. And it is what fuels today such false beliefs as the rapture and Jesus’s second-coming out of the clouds. Without an end–game in place, we find our faith under assault,1 as we try to make sense of a world filled with horrors, suffering, and loss. Yet it is precisely this lack of knowledge in God’s final act (like our uncertainty in what happens to us after we die) that creates the condition which rewards those with the faith of but a mustard seed.
If we are to acquire that life giving faith, and get glimpses of the Father’s divine plan, we must take a “big picture” view of our lives and the history of the world. This means letting go of human time and entering God time. With human time we focus on beginnings and ends, and see time as a product that can be saved, lost, and spent. And we view morality within the limits of those human constraints. But with God time we are dealing with a cyclical ebb and flow that cannot be pinned down—and where moral reckoning occurs on a timeline that far exceeds an individual lifetime.
Our life in Christ is beyond beginnings and ends—which is why Jesus says that he existed before Abraham2 and his words will live on even after heaven and earth pass away.3 The Holy Spirit constantly is in the process of rising and receding. This means that the crucifixion of our ego is not a one time affair. We are called to repeatedly lay down our lives,4 as we rise ever closer toward our divinity.
Jesus imparts this teaching of recurring crucifixion when he tells us that we must pick up our crosses daily.5 And our repeated rise toward Christ is demonstrated in the gospel story by Jesus’s reappearance within the form of a person that his disciples do not recognize.6 When, during the course of our spiritual evolution, we shed our egos, even those closest to us often fail to recognize the new person we’ve become. The fact that Jesus chooses to crucify his ego yet again, having already risen in Christ and been able to teach the gospel, demonstrates that no matter how high we’ve risen the ego continually builds new obstacles that need to be overcome.
When we pray For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever, amen, we are thus confirming our faith in today’s living Christ;7 as well as God’s divine plan that we, his children, can feel only intimations of but never fully know.8 As the 19th century Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker once said: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I can calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see, I am sure it bends toward justice.”
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- A violent squall came on, and the waves kept crashing into the boat, so that the boat was actually filling. 38 Jesus was in the stern asleep upon the cushion; and the disciples roused him and cried: “Teacher! Is it nothing to you that we are lost?” – Mark 4:37–38 [↩]
- “You are not fifty years old yet,” the Jews exclaimed, “and have you seen Abraham?” 58 “In truth I tell you,” replied Jesus, “before Abraham was, I am.” – John 8:57–58 [↩]
- I tell you that even the present generation will not pass away till all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. – Luke 21:33 [↩]
- This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life—to receive it again. 18 No one took it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to receive it again. John 10:17–18 [↩]
- “If anyone wishes to walk in my steps, let them renounce self, and take up their cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 [↩]
- After saying this, she turned round and looked at Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 “Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” he asked. Supposing him to be the gardener, Mary answered: “If it was you, sir, who carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away myself.” – John 20:14–15 [↩]
- They could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were at a loss to account for this, all at once two men stood beside them, in dazzling clothing. 5 But, when in their fear the women bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them: “Why are you looking among the dead for him who is living?” Luke 24:3-5 [↩]
- The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words shall never pass away. But about that day and hour, no one knows: not even the angels of heaven, nor yet the Son, but only the Father himself. Matthew 24:36 [↩]
Then they all rose as a body and led Jesus before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him: “This is a man whom we found misleading our people, preventing them from paying taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he himself is Christ a King.’” 3 “Are you the King of the Jews?” Pilate asked him. “That is what you say,” replied Jesus.
4 Then Pilate, turning to the chief priests and the people, said: “I do not see anything to find fault with in this man.” 5 But they insisted: “He is stirring up the people by his teaching all through Judea; he began with Galilee and has now come here.”
6 Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; 7 And, having satisfied himself that Jesus came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who also was at Jerusalem at the time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly pleased, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, having heard a great deal about him; and he was hoping to see some sign given by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but Jesus made no reply.
10 Meanwhile the chief priests and the teachers of the law stood by and vehemently accused him. 11 And Herod, with his soldiers, treated Jesus with scorn; he mocked him by throwing a gorgeous robe round him, and then sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, for before that there had been ill-will between them.
13 So Pilate summoned the chief priests, and the leading men, and the people, 14 And said to them: “You brought this man before me charged with misleading the people; and yet, for my part, though I examined him before you, I did not find this man to blame for any of the things of which you accuse him; 15 Nor did Herod either; for he has sent him back to us. And, as a fact, he has not done anything deserving death; 16 So I shall chastise him, and then release him.” 27 For of necessity he needed to release one to them at the feast.
18 But they began to shout as one person: “Kill this fellow, but release Barabbas for us.” 19 Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for a riot that had broken out in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate, however, wanting to release Jesus, called to them again; 21 But they kept calling out: “Crucify, crucify him!”
22 “Why, what harm has this man done?” Pilate said to them for the third time. “I have found nothing in him for which he could be condemned to death. So I will chastise him, and then let him go.”
23 But they persisted in loudly demanding his crucifixion; and their clamor gained the day. 24 Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been put in prison for riot and murder, as they demanded, and gave Jesus up to be dealt with as they pleased.
26 And, as they were leading Jesus away, they laid hold of Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and they put the cross on his shoulders for him to carry behind Jesus. 27 There was a great crowd of people following him, many being women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.
28 So Jesus turned and said to them: “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 A time, I tell you, is coming, when it will be said: ‘Happy are the women who are barren, and those who have never borne children or nursed them!’ 30 At that time people will begin to say to the mountains ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills ‘Cover us.’ 31 If what you see is done while the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 There were two others also, criminals, led out to be executed with Jesus. 33 When they had reached the place called Calvary, there they crucified Jesus and the criminals, one on the right, and one on the left. 34 Then Jesus said: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” His clothes they then divided among themselves by casting lots.
35 Meanwhile the people stood looking on. Even the leading men said with a sneer: “He saved others, let him save himself, if he is God’s Christ, his Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers, too, came up in mockery, bringing him common wine, 37 And saying as they did so: “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 Above him were the words: ‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’
39 One of the criminals who was hanging beside Jesus railed at him. “Are not you the Christ? Save yourself and us,” he said. 40 But the other rebuked him. “Have not you,” he said, “any fear of God, now that you are under the same sentence? 41 And we justly so, for we are only reaping our deserts, but this man has not done anything wrong.”
42 Jesus,” he went on, “do not forget me when you have come to your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus answered: “I tell you, this very day you shall be with me in paradise.” 44 It was nearly mid-day, when a darkness came over the whole country, lasting until three in the afternoon, 45 The sun being eclipsed; and the temple curtain was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus, with a loud cry, said: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” And with these words he expired.
47 The Roman captain, on seeing what had happened, praised God, exclaiming: “Certainly this was a righteous man!” 48 All the people who had gathered to see the sight, watched what occurred, and then went home beating their breasts. 49 All the friends of Jesus had been standing at a distance, with the women who accompanied him from Galilee, watching everything.
50 Now there was a man of the name of Joseph, who was a counselor, and who was a good man and just. 51 This man had not assented to the decision and action of the council. He was from Arithamaea, a city of the Jews, and lived in expectation of the kingdom of God. 52 He now went to see Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus; 53 And, when he had taken it down, he wrapped it in a linen sheet, and laid him in a tomb cut out of stone, in which no one had yet been buried.
54 It was the preparation day, just before the start of the Sabbath. 55 The women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how the body of Jesus was laid, 56 And then went home, and prepared spices and perfumes. During the Sabbath they rested, as directed by the commandment.
To read the next chapter of the Book of Luke, please go to The Gospel of Luke – 24.
This Online New Testament Gospel of Luke is excerpted from the book The Living Hour: The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life (with New Century Gospels). Including over 200 bookmarked citations from the canonical Gospels, this Progressive Christian book appeals to the Unitarian spirit at the heart of all faiths.
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