This Sunday, February 14, we will conclude our sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer: “The Prayer Jesus Taught Us, Part 6: Thine is the Kingdom.” The scripture is Matthew 6:13b as found in the King James Version of the Bible (“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”). This is the familiar doxology that the Church says or sings every Sunday in worship.
All modern English translations include this doxology in a footnote to the verse. They do this because older manuscripts of this text have been discovered since the time of the King James translation that do not include it. Older manuscripts are assumed in biblical scholarship to more accurately reflect the original words of the gospel writers. It seems likely, therefore, that this doxology was a later addition (possibly in the second century) by the Church.
As one New Testament scholar noted, however, it would have been very unlikely that Jesus’ prayer would have concluded without a doxology. And this doxology is certainly the gospel truth: it resonates with the themes of this prayer and Jesus’ saving work. So in this case I side with Church tradition over against strict biblical scholarship. I believe, in other words, that it’s in our Bibles and in our liturgies (of the universal Church) because the Holy Spirit wants it there!
As a response to this Sunday’s sermon, we will invite baptized Christians in our congregation to reaffirm their baptismal covenant. This act of worship provides an opportunity for all of us to once again affirm our Christian faith and our ongoing desire to follow Christ by repeating the vows that we made (or that were made on our behalf) at baptism. At the conclusion of this liturgy, I will invite people to come forward and touch the waters of the baptismal font and remember their baptism and be thankful.
This is not a re-baptism; rather we use the gift of water to “call to our remembrance the grace declared to us in our baptism.” We periodically reaffirm our baptismal covenant because, although baptism is a once-for-all-time, eternal, and gracious gift of God, it is something that we must spend our entire lives living up to and into.
Everyone is welcome to join us for this special service. If you’re not yet baptized and would like to be, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or see me after the service.