Some time back, I started working through The Lord’s Prayer in slow motion. As far as I know, this is where we got up to:
Your will be done.
When you hear those words, what do you think of? What do you think is meant by “God’s will”? Do you want it to be the case that God’s will be done?
The traditional definition is that sin is not doing God’s will. And you also know what people who talk about sin a lot say happens to sinners (when they die).
If you think of God as the guy in the sky who is a spoil-sport and wants to stop us from having fun – and there’s certainly lots of people who give that impression – if that’s your view of God’s will, well I’d be with you in not being that enthusiastic about wanting that almighty ogre’s will to be done.
Another picture: when you think of God’s will, do you think it is totally specific? Again – lots of people do. These people give the impression that God has a specific will about you at every moment.
God, in this second image, is maybe a lot nicer God than the almighty ogre spoil-sport guy in the sky. In this second God picture, God wants you to be happy, to have a good time. In this picture you won’t be as happy as you could be if you don’t follow God’s specific will.
So maybe God wants you to study Biology, but you decide not to follow God’s will – you decide to study Physics in stead. Maybe that’s not such a big deal, but you are off the track of God’s will and somehow need to get back on that Biology track.
Let’s keep going. God’s will (in this image) is that you marry Sophia and become a brain surgeon and live in X. That, God knows, is what will make you happy. But you don’t marry Sophia, etc. You marry Abigail, become a plumber, and live in Y. Will you be happy? What does it mean not to be following God’s specific will? Do you need to divorce Abigail, get Sophia to untangle herself from whatever out-of-God’s-will-mess she is stuck in, marry her, retrain as a brain surgeon and move to X? Do you need to do these things to get back into God’s will, stop being a sinner, and end up being a happy and fulfilled human being?
There’s another problem with this second picture. How do you work out God’s specific will? How do you work out that God wants you to study Biology and not Physics? Do you hear a little voice in your head whispering, “Biology – not Physics”? Do you flick the Bible open and put a finger in it and interpret the verse that you find there?
How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done—
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks, (Jeremiah 2:23)
Ah… camel… Biology…
The video above, presents God as the music of reality. “Your will be done”, there, is much more about being in tune with the music of reality. In this model, God’s will is about whatever is the fulfilling thing to do, whatever is the meaningful thing to do, the loving, the joy-enhancing, and so on.
And, in this third model, it is also notable that people (churchy people, theologians,…) may have great music theory but not play or sing in tune…
If you follow this third model, you choose Biology or Physics, whichever fits better with your gifts, and seems more fulfilling; the same with who to marry, the job you do, the place you live. You do what is most loving…
This way of thinking applies not just to be big decisions but to everything: how you act; how you speak; everything…
Are you living, acting, speaking in tune with the universe, are you going with the grain of the universe?
What do you think?
- Save Us from The Time of Trial
- Our Father
- good worship is both/and
- Contemporary Lord’s Prayer forbidden
- Our Father (part 2)