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By Ken Storey.

Richmond Friends of the Homeless feeds more than 3,000 meals each week to the hungry poor. Photo by Shawnee Hansen.

If you think you know the Lord’s Prayer, having memorized it from years of repetition in church, think again. Dr. Jim Somerville is leading a five-week study of the Lord’s Prayer that frames it as a mission statement. The sessions are in the Dining Hall following the weekly Wednesday night dinner and continue through May 25.

To help put the prayer into a new perspective Jim is using the original Greek wording of the prayer and explaining how the Greek words bring new understanding to the meaning Jesus intended. For example, the first Greek word actually means “paternity”; typically we use “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9f, KJV). The next words in Greek actually mean “who is not here”; for us, “which art in heaven.” As Jim explained, “Jesus did not teach His disciples this prayer with formal words like Yahweh; He wanted it to be informal. He used words that meant ‘Our Father’ and not ‘My Father,’ so that the prayer would have a meaning that brings us all into a community with God.”

He continued, “The Greek words that refer to ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ actually mean ‘you hallow the Lord’s name by your life, not with your lips; your actions create the hallow.’ What Jesus was trying to say was that your actions show the honor to God.”

When you say “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,” you should be thinking that you are taking a vow to do God’s work on earth. As Jim noted, “Jesus was saying, ‘Let me show you what it will be like when God’s kingdom is here as it is in heaven.’” He challenges us to catch Jesus’ vision of what the world would be like if we truly worked to make it be like it is in heaven. As Jim said, “If we truly caught that vision we would be unstoppable, because we would want it so badly. This prayer is like what a missionary would say before going to the mission field.”

Hope in the Cities sponsors the Richmond Unity Walk. Photo by Rob Lancaster.

In addition to the study, each week will focus on one person whose work is bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond. Shawnee Hansen (click here to see a video) spoke on April 27; her program, Richmond Friends of the Homeless, serves more than 3,000 meals a week to homeless and the hungry poor. May 4 featured Rob Corcoran, national director of Initiatives of Change and founder of Hope in the Cities, which works toward reconciliation and partnerships among racial, ethnic and religious groups. On May 11 Rabbi Jesse Gallop will share how some of our Jewish neighbors are bringing heaven to earth. Brad Nott of Crossover Ministry will speak on May 18. Crossover is one of FBC’s missional partners and provides medical care to the uninsured.

Ken Storey is a realtor with Hometown Realty. A member of FBC since 1989, he belongs to Foundations Sunday school class, is a deacon, and serves on the Communication Team. Ken and his wife, Laura, have four children ages 7 to16 – Stephen, Lydia, William, and David.

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