New Church, Prayer

A Prayer of Jesus

Tonight I went to a bittersweet celebration for my friend, RevFun. At the same time we marked the 25th anniversary of his ordination, we looked ahead to the closing of the church he founded, which will worship together for the last time on September 13th.

Lots of new church starts don't make it, in the sense of becoming numeric or financial successes. You have to hit a sweet spot of demographics and energy and skills in the congregation and who knows what else. RevFun and I learned all about that at the New Church Leadership Institute last summer, and we whapped ourselves in the heads and said, "THAT would have been good to know!" More than once.

But what they did so well at Open House is something the rest of us need to learn and make part of ourselves and our churches.

The old way of doing church will not sustain itself forever, and it's just possible God is calling us to new life, not just with new vocabulary for the things we do and but with completely new ways of being. We need to welcome people not just with a handshake and a nametag but by talking together about what we do and why we do it, and maybe by deciding what we do is no longer what pleases God if it leaves people cold, people who won't have the experience of Christ's loving community because the way we worship feels like, well, nothing to them.

At Rock 'n Roll Church, they rewrote The Lord's Prayer. Heresy, right? I remember wondering, what the heck? Why'd they do that? But tonight I heard their words, the ones they discussed and chose together, set to music, and they moved me. They moved me. I hope they'll move you, too.

 

A Prayer of Jesus

Dear God who is everywhere

You are pure and perfect.

May this world become entirely yours.

 

Help us to do what you want,

Completely and perfectly,

Until earth is like Heaven.

 

Sustain us in life and spirit today,

And forgive us the harm we cause,

As we forgive those who harm us.

 

When we are tested, keep us in the light

And don't let us be lost to darkness.

For to you belongs the whole universe

The mighty strength and everlasting love.

 

Let it be so.

9 thoughts on “A Prayer of Jesus”

  1. I went to the Open House site several days ago. I like this version of the prayer and the energy I felt from RevFun’s site.

  2. That is probably a great task for any church body to undertake before trying out the newer translation of the Lord’s Prayer. I think it makes the whole thing more personal. Beautiful.

  3. The prayer speaks to me. It’s not just the words and music and rituals the church needs to change. It’s the whole way of being in the world. As long as the church exists like any other institution and operates to survive, it isn’t going anywhere. Ironically, it’s the church that leaves survival in God’s hands and goes out to be church-for-others that is what Jesus founded, even if it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes Christ calls communities to come and due just as he calls individuals.

  4. It was and is a beautiful thing! My call is find ways to keep what RevFun started alive and evolving whether it earns me a living or not! You don’t get witnessing like we heard last night, everday. I would venture a guess some mainstream churches never get that kind of witnessing at all!

  5. Cool. I like that prayer. 🙂 And yes, having a church plant last 3 years is beating the average right now (sad to say)
    I wanted to tell you too that when I was getting peaches at the orchard I met two beautiful BMDs! They were both quietly watching all of the people. I gave them both a scritch, thanked God for you and your dogs and went home to make peach jam/butter/pie…
    lovely dogs… almost enough to convert this cat person… 😉
    deb

  6. Oh, I love this. Love and blessings to Rev. Fun – I will keep him and his folk in my prayers.

  7. My Sunday School class is on a book, Becoming Jesus’ Prayer. I sent this to the leader and she asked me to read it at the end of class this Sunday.

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