Catechism: Amen Corner

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Q: What does the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?

A: The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer (for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever) teaches us to be encouraged only by God in our prayers and to praise Him by acknowledging that kingdom, power, and glory are His. To show that we want to be heard and have confidence that we are, we say “Amen”.

AMEN

The conclusion of the Shorter Catechism reminds us to look again to our greater purpose. Hopefully going through the catechism has been training us, and our children, to see with a kind of “second sight,” or, I suppose you could call it a third eye, at a clearer spiritual reality. Not, as I used to think, an invisible overlay over our material existence but really an extra dimension of significance, a different understanding, of what we deal with day in and day out.

As parents we are tempted to consider our families a plot of fiefdom. While this may be technically true, we are in constant danger of overreach in our consideration of our own kingdom, power, and glory. We obsess over the scope and shape of our authority when really our role is less about governance and more about direction. We are not where the buck stops; we are the vector to a higher authority. Less Herod, more John the Baptist.

And the best thing we can teach our children is not how to manage themselves and their lot in life — but to know and relish in their Creator. To rest in His sovereignty, to be floored by His goodness, to wonder at His salvation.

So let us remember to say “Amen.” When we discipline or adjudicate conflict, to say “Amen” to the God who demands justice but who sent His Son to shoulder our burdens. When we earn a living, to say “Amen” to the God who provides and imbues our toils with meaning. When we teach, to say “Amen” to the Spirit who makes all things known in His time. When we fail, to say “Amen” to the work that is already finished and His certain faithfulness despite our infidelities. When we suffer, to say “Amen” to His incarnate empathy and glorious redemption. When we fight, to say “Amen” to His peace and love that fills the vacuum and sustains our shared communion.

Let our children see our lives as this prayer. Amen and amen and amen.

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