Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sermon on the Mount Pt.3 – the Lord’s Prayer

Sermon on the Mount Pt.3 (Mathew 6:1-18)

This section of the Sermon on the Mount contains the Lord's prayer, and instructions on giving,prayer and fasting. This is also a very practical lesson for us all who do a lot of things except those commanded by Jesus himself.



Giving to others

Jesus says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the
synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”(Mathew 6:1-4)

We are all at sometime in our lives guilty of showing off our righteousness and generosity in public. We give alms and help the poor to gain praise from others, for some material benefits to soothe our ego which by Jesus standards is definitely wrong. Jesus says “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. Jesus wants us to be humble and do good things in secret such that only God alone knows what we do.

This is indeed a difficult commandment to follow in a world where those who work in silence are suppressed and at times even punished whereas those who show off are praised and rewarded. It seems very unfair the way the good are denied their rights and the bad are rewarded but Jesus reassures us that what is done in secret may not be noticed by man but be rewarded by God who sees all things. What we have to do is to do the right thing at all times under the most difficult circumstances and God will be there for us without fail at the right time and at the right place when we need Him most.


Pray in secret

Jesus says “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”(Mathew 6:4-6)


Fasting

Jesus says “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you”.(Mathew 6:16-18)

Again Jesus stresses that we must not be hypocrites whom he condemns. He wants us to pray and fast in private and not openly for others to see. Our praying and fasting if sincere is not for others to see but for only for God to know. Our prayer and fasting should be a means to give us the courage to do the right thing against all adversaries and not a means to seek favours from God who knows what to give us.

Today we seem to do the opposite of what Jesus commanded – we organise mammoth prayer sessions in the form of feasts, processions and pilgrimages for the world to see.We want to show how mighty we are by these mammoth gatherings to worship God.Many of these prayer sessions have in fact become highly commercialised to attract huge numbers of tourists from near and far. Is this what Jesus really wants of us? Let’s search our hearts for the answer.


The Lord's Prayer
(Mathew 6:9-15)

Our Father who art 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.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

He continues, “Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.”

Jesus even taught us how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. This very simple but meaningful prayer is recited by us many times a day but very often we do not really mean what we say.

Very often we ask God to forgive our sins and grant us our needs but we ourselves are not willing to forgive others who have sinned against us or grant others what they need. Jesus has clearly stated that we must forgive others in order for Him to forgive our sins. God does not come directly to us to give us what we ask for but grants our needs through others and unless we are good to those we encounter there is no way God is going send people to deliver us.

In short we have to build God’s Kingdom here on earth, a Kingdom that must resemble His in Heaven where forgiveness reigns to deliver us from all evil.


Relevance of Lord's Prayer to us today

The following are some real life situations that we often encounter.

1. A leader in a community who takes all for himself and leaving little or none for those whom he is supposed to serve.At national level we see the leaders being corrupt to the core at the epense of the massess who are struggling to make ends meat.


2. Those who react with anger and seek vengence towards those who have hurt them in some way.They are unwilling to forgive others but epect others to forgive them for their sins.


3. Those in power with-holding their service to those under their care as a form of punishment for not following their directives or go against their will.


This is very common these days not only in the various institutions in the country but sadly even in our own church that diligently preaches the Gospel.We have governments which punish the people who vote against them by denying their legitimate rights.


In our church we have priests who punish their parishioners by refusuing the sacraments for not following their rules.They act as the the prosecutor,judge and eecutor to mete out punishment with no compassion or forgiveness,the fundamental principles in the teachings of Jesus.


We are all familiar that baptism,matrimony,last rights and funerals services are being denied to those whom the priests think are sinners as they lapse in their duties to the church as an institution.These priests forget the very words of Jesus that they preach “Let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone”


4. Those who hold God to ransom – offering to to do something in return for favours received.These are common among pilgrims who go in search of God from place to place.


5. Those who are hypocrites,pretending to do good in public but they do that with a motive to gain benefits for themselves and their families.We are all familiar with such practices being rampant among our politicians.Regretabbly knowing them we still continue to support them.

The above are just a few of the numerous eamples we have today in our midst.Are we also doing the same?It is time for us to stop and reflect on what we are doing.Are we really doing what Jesus commanded or only pretending to do what He wants? Have we forgiven those who have hurt us?Have we asked forgiveness from those whom we have hurt? If we haven’t it is never late to do so now.

2 comments:

ExpressJodi said...

Great expectations

Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly - wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.

Responsibility

With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. "From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner's as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn't mean that you're tied to a ball and chain. "It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner's caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.

Finances

Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

In - laws or outlaws?

if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in - laws into the equation. When you're used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in - laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in - laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

Sharing space

Marriage involves sharing everything - whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. " Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
Differnces of opinion

Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. "Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,"

Planning for the future

As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. "Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long - term goal are concerned," "Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,"

ExpressJodi said...

Brahmin Shaadi
Historically, the Brahmins in india were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.

Sagaai
The Sagaai or the engagement ceremony symbolises commitment However, the South Indian Brahmin do not lay stress on the presence of bride and the groom in their Sagaai, rather it focuses on commitment between the parents of the groom and the bride. 'Latto' i.e., 'engagement plate' Which consist of coconut, flowers, turmeric, betel leaves and betel nuts hold more importance, in their engagement ceremony. The Maithil Brahmin bride of bihar makes her wedding affair stand apart by receiving the blessing from the Dhobi's (washerman's) wife - a compulsory tradition in the Bihari Brahmin wedding.

Haldi
In Haldi ceremony turmeric powder is mixed with milk, almond oil and sandalwood and applied to the bride and the groom. In Kashmiri Pandit this ceremony has a twist becuase cold, white yoghurt is poured on the bride as an alternative to haldi. ritual is followed by a special custom called Shankha (shell) Paula (coral) in bengali Brahmins, where seven married women embellish the bride's hand with red and white bangles, the shell is supposed to calm the bride and the coral is believed to
be beneficial for health. Mehndi is also applied on every bride's hands during the Mehndi ceremony. However, a Bengali Brahmin bride applies alta (red dye).

Jaimala
After the ceremonious arrival of the groom, the garlands are exchanged between the groom and the bride, while the priests chant mantras. Jaimala is the symbol of unifying two souls into one. But in tamil nadu, "Oonjal", a unique jaimala ceremony is performed and could be best decribed as a tug of war. In this ceremony, the women sing songs to encourage the bride and groom to exchange the garlands while the uncles persuade the soon to be couple not to Exchange the garlands.Before the ceremony of jaimala, the bride makes a majestic entry in Bengali weddings.

Mangal Phere
Fire is considered the most pious element in the Brahmin weddings and seven circles around that fire holds the seven promises that the nuptial couple make to each other amidst the Vedic mantras. The Brahmin wedding is deemed incomplete without the seven rounds around the sacred fire. Unlike other Brahmin weddings, in Gujarati weddings only four pheras are taken which are called the mangalpheras where the pheras represent four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Miksha (religious, moral, prosperity and salvation). Likewise in Malayalee Brahmin weddings, pheras are taken only thrice.

Post wedding ceremony vidaai
After pheras, the bride's family and friend bid her teary vidaai (farewell). The Kashmiri pundits make their vidaai even more special. their charming ritual, "roth khabar" is performed on a saturday or tuesday after the wedding. In Roth
khabar, the bride's parents send a roth (bread decorated with nuts) to their son - in - law's family. But the bride accompanies She stay with her parents and returns only when someone from in laws comes to fetch her back.

Griha pravesh
The new bride is greeted by her mother - in - law with Arti and tilak. The bride, who is regarded as the Goddess laxmi, enters the groom's house after the groom's house after kicking rice - filled pot. In Kannada Brahmin marriages, the groom changes the name of his wife in the name change ceremony where he decides a name for his wife and inscribes it on a plate containing rice with a ring. In Bihar, a very strange ritual is performs at the groom's place.