Last week I was at a meeting – where we were talking about how change is a constant process… A constant process of trying

to get to the right place. And someone mentioned a gps unit. What do they say when you’ve made a wrong turn? Recalculating. Or when you aren’t going the right direction? Recalculating. Our spiritual journeys are similar in some ways… We are constantly in a state of change – and flux – constantly making small refinements to our course… And inevitably, we make a wrong turn – or we head off in the wrong direction for a while. Recalculating. Or recalibrating? Re-ordering? Re-prioritizing? Could be any of these words really…as we try to get back on the path…as we make our way back to God.

Today the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray…to help them find their way. And Jesus does this by offering them what we call the Lord’s prayer. Christians all over the world say this everyday – sometimes multiple times a day – in hundreds of different languages.

I remember, from as far back as I can – kneeling at the side of my bed with my mom (sometimes with one parent on each side) and fumbling through the words in tired, little girl French before I was allowed to go to bed. I remember these moments, in part, because praying like this began to form the foundation of who I was…because the language we use when we pray teaches us how to live… How to exist in the world. Perhaps some of you have similar memories – either as a child – or more recently. Memories that inform who you are – and how you pray.

This prayer creates for us a social order where God is, as we prayed this morning – protector and guide. And, because we are formed by the ways in which we pray – and the things we ask for – this prayer helps to bind us into that one body – with Christ being the one head – that Paul is referring to in Colossians. This prayer is a model for us of the kind of prayerful relationship we should have with God. And of the kinds of relationships we should have with each other. It is at once both accessible – and elegant. It refers both to the practical and finite – our daily bread – and to the eternal – save us from the time of trial. The only word that comes up more than once though, in the Gospel, at least – is “forgive.” Forgiveness marks both our relationship with God – as in God forgiving us – and our relationship with each other – as in our

forgiveness of other people- and our learning to accept forgiveness when others offer it to us. And forgiveness is, in part, what our passage from Colossians is about today. In Colossians, Paul writes about the forgiveness – the pardon we find in Jesus Christ. The freedom we find in knowing that we are loved – and forgiven. And, Jesus, is talking, too of the forgiveness we owe to each other – forgiveness that keeps the Body togetherThat binds us together in peace. Best practices, if you will – for how to live together. Forgiveness frees us to love each other. To be unburdened. See how that works? Love is freed by forgiveness. And peace is rooted in Love. And all of these things are gifts from God.

Paul writes that God first forgave us all our trespasses – erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. So too, if we are to share God’s love, must we forgive the records we keep for those around us. God shares forgiveness with us – and this freedom of relationship is meant to order – and serve as the roots – of the relationships we have with each other. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Christ encourages us to live in a new way – to live in the kingdom now – to be the kingdom for each other.

And yet, we know, there is more to come – more to pray for. More work for us to each to do as we build a world of peace and justice – on a foundation of faithfulness and forgiveness.

We have been given the gift of a new creation – of a new order. Where God’s mercy and forgiveness is boundless. The good news – is that today – in Colossians we hear that our sin – those things which would separate us from God and from each otherThose very things – have been nailed to the cross. And God, as our guide, gives us a new way to live— and offering us the opportunity, when we’ve gone the wrong way – to recalculate. To pray – to forgive – and to be forgiven. Recalculating. Even as others recalculate.

In Christ we need no longer worry about the ledger that stands against us… We need only return to our prayer lives- to this prayer – to God – in order to see how we need to re-organize. To see how we need to re-route. Or to re-order – in order to better navigate our relationships – with God and each other. To see better this Body Paul is talking about. With Christ as the head. And all of us as the body. Each as valuable as another.

We like, as human beings, to be able to put people and things in categories and boxes. It’s how our brains work. And Jesus, here, has categorized and prioritized our lives for us. Drawn a logic model for us. A diagram. To teach us to live in harmony with God and each other by understanding our place in the world. By understanding that we are loved. And forgiven. And exactly who God made us to be. By recognizing our dependence on our God – who is our protector and guide. Who helps us to recalculate.

In a few minutes, we will pray this prayer together. Corporately, by our words together, we find that we are sharing one of those transcendent moments of the kingdom as we pray and gather round the table. We will experience the kingdom- even as we pray for it to come.

If you have never experienced this kingdom living – knock – and the door will be opened to you. If you have – but you’ve lost your way – and you need to reorder, to re-prioritize – pray – and seek – and God will help you find your way back. God will help you to recalculate.

In the midst of this world, let this prayer be our portal to the next – so that when we pray it individually – and especially together in these safe places– we may have the grace to be vulnerable enough to ask and receive. And to pray for the coming of the kingdom. Amen.