Posts Tagged ‘Hampton United Methodist Church’

The Lord’s Prayer and the “deadly peril of familiarity”

January 16, 2015

kellerPastor and author Tim Keller reminds us how easy it is to take for granted the greatest single resource for spirituality that we possess! His train analogy fits perfectly, as anyone who’s spent time at Hampton United Methodist Church (which sits a few dozen yards from the train tracks) can attest. I remember being startled when it passed by on my first Sunday at the church. It feels like an earthquake. Now I don’t notice it.

Imagine you are, for the first time, visiting someone who has a home or an apartment near train tracks. You are sitting there in conversation, when suddenly the train comes roaring by, just a few feet from where you are sitting, and you jump to your feet in alarm. “What’s that?” you cry. Your friend, the resident of the house, responds, “What was what?” You answer, “That sound! I thought something was coming through the wall.” “Oh, that,” she says. “That’s just the train. You know, I guess I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even notice it anymore.” With wide eyes you say, “I don’t see how that is possible.” But it is.

It is the same with the Lord’s Prayer. The whole world is starving for spiritual experience, and Jesus gives us the means to it in a few words. Jesus is saying, as it were, “Wouldn’t you like to be able to come face-to-face with the Father and king of the universe every day, to pour out your heart to him, and to sense him listening to and loving you?” We say, of course, yes.

Jesus responds, “It’s all in the Lord’s Prayer,” and we say, “In the what?” It’s so familiar we can no longer hear it. Yet everything we need is within it. How do we overcome the deadly peril of familiarity?[†]

Timothy Keller, Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 109.