By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist—
The Lord’s Prayer can seem exclusionary, especially in its beginning. The Christian prayer, sometimes called the “Our Father,” however, is actually inclusive. It is a reflection, meditation, or conversation with the Almighty.
Most religions have a core wisdom, though each can be perverted. Christianity is no different. It sometimes has been misused to love less, judge more, and isolate and persecute those perceived as different.
This series is a modest, very basic reflection on the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a starting point. LGBTQ Christians can make the prayer their own. It welcomes you into a loving relationship with a holy, mystical presence. The prayer invites you to be spiritually empowered, liberated, and most important, unconditionally loved. [pullquote]Consider “Father” a placeholder because the Creator cannot be limited by gender or anything else. The Giver of Life is holy mystery. When Moses asks Eternal Light for a name, the response is “I am that I am.”[/pullquote]
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come; your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6: 9-13).
Our Father in heaven.
Consider “Father” a placeholder because the Creator cannot be limited by gender or anything else. The Giver of Life is holy mystery. When Moses asks Eternal Light for a name, the response is “I am that I am.”
Divine breath is “our” Holy Maker, belonging to everyone. No one has a greater claim to Infinite Light. A person opposed to marriage equality isn’t given higher standing to cosmic glory. Everyone is an equally loved child of the same God, whether Kim Davis the Kentucky clerk who denied marriage licenses to same-gender couples, or Episcopal priests and pastors of the United Church of Christ (among others) who joyfully celebrate same-gender religious marriages.
Heaven is available at this moment within a person’s soul. Our Mystical Parent is not in a faraway place. Heaven is a call to be spiritually one with God in a temporary world of boxes, distinctions, separations, and social status.
At the baptism for a child of same-gender parents, in good times and bad, the Creator is there. Eternal Flame is everywhere, always available to listen whether you’re in jail, at the office, sitting in a place of worship, or driving in the car with the radio and cell turned off. In order to hear Divine Presence find stillness and make it a routine. [pullquote]It’s where a transgender man or woman who is discriminated against by members of the gay, lesbian, or bisexual community can find a safe place. The rejected and abandoned are holy and sacred, invited to explore how Eternal Light is loving and welcoming.[/pullquote]
Hallowed be your name.
Reflect on the sacred and perfect. It is in praise of something bigger and better than self-interest. Elevate yourself to a transcendental experience. To “fear” God is to be awed by something wonderful and extraordinary. Don’t be afraid. It is a place of supreme goodness where injustice is sorted out regardless of the realities of a cold, complicated world.
It’s where a transgender man or woman who is discriminated against by members of the gay, lesbian, or bisexual community can find a safe place. The rejected and abandoned are holy and sacred, invited to explore how Eternal Light is loving and welcoming.
Divinely inspired biblical stories welcome you to ask, for example, how the story of Adam and Eve is relevant to an LGBTQ person. The story can be understood as one of awakening to a higher consciousness, both bitter and yet very sweet. It can be a coming-of-age story.
As someone observed, we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s important as spiritual beings wrestling with humanness to find the mystical in each day. The Lord’s Prayer can help in the journey.
* Paul is a corporate chaplain, seminary trained priest, and attorney in greater Albany, NY. Reach him through www.CorporateChaplaincy.biz.