Called to pray, read and learn. Sent to tell, serve and give.
These simple words sum up our Rule of Life in the Diocese of Liverpool. Each person in our parishes, schools, fresh expressions and chaplaincies will make sense of these words in their own way and in company with their friends, and over the next months I and my colleagues will be providing a wide range of resources to help with that, for people to use if they wish.
In these early days of the Rule of Life, though, I want to reflect very briefly and simply on each word week by week, and to give some pointers to the Diocesan family for our direction of travel together. So here goes…
Called to pray.
I said last week that if you wanted to be involved in the Rule of Life, the way to begin was simply to remember, every time you say the Lord’s Prayer, that you do so as part of a Diocesan family of around 60,000 people, and to say to yourself, “As a disciple in the Diocese of Liverpool, I pray: Our Father…”. Why did I choose the Lord’s Prayer for this?
The answer, of course, is that almost every Christian who prays daily will include the words that Jesus gave us as part of those prayers. You can find them in the Bible in two places: in Matthew’s gospel at chapter 6, and in Luke’s gospel at chapter 11. The two versions are slightly different, and this reflects the richness of what Jesus gave us, and the fact that the prayer can illuminate different things for different people.
People who know this prayer by heart will use slightly different versions too, depending when they learned it. Whether you use traditional or modern language doesn’t matter. What matters is that your memory should be comfortable with the words you say, so that the meaning can sink deeper day by day.
Let me underline that I’m not asking people to say the Lord’s Prayer an extra time. I simply ask that you remember your membership of the Diocesan family, when you pray the Lord’s Prayer as part of the prayers you usually pray.
Later in the year I will reflect further on the Lord’s Prayer, drawing on the four Lent Lectures I gave on the Prayer last year in the Cathedral. I will also be pointing you to the enormous, rich resources in prayer of all kinds which the Church provides for us all, so that you and your friends can explore them in ways that are right for you.
But for now, simply say this lovely and profound prayer when you usually do, and with the Diocesan family in mind. Together with all disciples in the Diocese of Liverpool and across the world, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray: Our Father…
With every blessing as ever,