Our Father…

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This weekend I officiated at a wedding – a hopeful and joyful occasion celebrating the love of a couple, the love of God, and the love of family and friends. I invited the couple to look out at the people who gathered to support them as I shared the following words:

 

When you’re in the midst of struggle or feeling lonely – remember your family and friends and their love.

 

When you two can’t even look at each other and wonder how you’ll make it another day – remember your family and friends and their love.

 

When you need someone to celebrate with you – remember your family and friends and their love.

 

But, most importantly, remember that before all these people and before you two ever met; God was there.

 

God who intimately knows you and loves you deeply just as you are. God who has walked with you through joy and celebration. God who knew you before you were born. God who goes with you in this marriage and your life together – loving you both.

 

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We’ve heard scripture, the vows have been shared, the rings exchanged, the prayers given. There’s a moment of silence. Then an invitation to pray the Lord’s Prayer. The congregation joins together; praying as Jesus taught. Praying as they’ve done in churches and homes. Praying in the words that have been passed down for generations.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven.

 

I hear the congregation reciting the words. Offering them as their prayers. Joining together as the body of Christ. I offer my voice as well, praying with them.

 

But all I hear is one voice. A small voice yet mighty in faith and heart. I don’t need to look to see whose voice I hear above the rest. I hear it right next to me. The voice of a 6-year-old. The voice of the 1st grade boy standing next to me in front of everyone. His voice is so strong and sure even as he stumbles over some words and comes in late with others. He keeps praying.

 

I smile as he prays. The husband and wife smile, too. It’s a gift we get to share together.

 

He didn’t need an audience. He didn’t need to show off or perform. All he did was pray the prayer he’d been taught. The prayer that he’ll teach to his children some day. The prayer that will see him through challenges and celebrations. The prayer that was meant just for him.

 

The prayer that we were all meant to hear from his young, strong voice. A prayer reminding us of love.  

 

Our Father, who art in heaven.

 

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/

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