Moore: What’s the song keeping you going?
One thing keeping me sane right now is my favorite classic rock playlist. It’s amazing how these deep cleaning projects become fun when powered by Boz Scaggs’ “Lido Shuffle” and Peter Frampton’s live performance of “Do You Feel like We Do?” Come to think of it, because of this new experience we all have in common, we can answer that question, yes! Yes, I do feel like you do.
If you’re anything like me (scary thought, I know), your favorite playlist also has a favorite song. You know, the song that has to play before the evening is over. It’s the song your favorite hangout always played before kicking everybody out at 1 a.m. In my college days, this was the Dixie Chicken in College Station, Texas, (that sound is the cheering of all my fellow Aggies), and at least in the late 80s the last song every night was David Allen Coe’s “Perfect Country Western Song.” “You don’t have to call me darlin, dar-LIN…” Anyone? Anyone? Can I get a witness?
I think I just lost everyone under the age of 50 who didn’t grow up somewhere in the south. Oh well. Here’s where I’m going with this. Many of you have a favorite song, your desert island album, your essential classic that gets pulled out when really needed. Mine is a prog-rock masterpiece no one’s ever heard of. I would love to know yours.
As a follower of Christ, there is another classic infinitely surpassing my classic rock playlist in power and meaning. It’s a classic prayer, a prayer recited at innumerable gatherings across the centuries. You may know it as The Lord’s Prayer, but it is really our prayer, a prayer Jesus himself gave his followers to re-orient our souls to the only source of life that truly sustains. I know many of you reading this don’t share my faith in Christ, but if I may, I’d like to humbly share why this prayer speaks so powerfully to me.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Talk about a needed re-orientation. Life isn’t about me. It’s so easy to get self-obsessed about what impacts me. Here Jesus reminds us that the only source of glory, of life, is God himself. Even more amazing is that now, because of Jesus’ resurrection, God isn’t just in heaven. The New Testament teaches God now dwells in the very lives of those with faith in Christ, and that we are never, ever, alone.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” This is where it gets personal. If I sincerely pray for God’s will to happen here on Earth, then it must start with me. How am I living to show God’s love, his goodness, to those around me? This also is a strong reminder that faith in God isn’t just about heaven when we die, but knowing and expressing God’s goodness today. Right now.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Want to get really practical? If I pray this, I can’t be a hoarder. To ask God for our daily bread is a simple yet profound faith that God will provide for our essential needs. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have a part to play, nor that people don’t go without. We do, and people will. Rather, praying for daily bread means I don’t have to live in anxiety about tomorrow’s needs, but faithfully live in the now, and trust God with tomorrow, whatever tomorrow may hold.
“And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” A core tenet of Christianity is the forgiveness Christ makes possible. But forgiveness isn’t only a vertical transaction — God’s forgiveness of us. It is also horizontal, as God makes it possible for us to truly forgive each other. Who knows? Maybe this is something God is leading us to do as we are sheltered in place.
“And don’t lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God never leads us into temptation. Jesus says this to emphasize the opposite — that God provides deliverance from temptation. Right now we face the temptation of impatience, frustration, anxiety, maybe anger, loss of hope, or whatever unpleasantness comes out when we get squeezed. Jesus teaches us that deliverance isn’t just not being overcome by temptation, but as the apostle Paul said a generation later, “overcoming evil with good.”
One day at a time, this is a prayer I’m learning to live. Perhaps you are as well.
Be safe and kind everyone. Keep calm and rock on! Oh, yeah, my obscure desert island album is “Snow” by Spock’s Beard.
Ethan Moore is the pastor of Trinity Church in Edwards. He and his wife Lisa have lived in the valley since 1995. You can reach him at email@example.com.