Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name ….
Our road trips to Florida always took us through the state of Georgia, where we would often stop to buy pecans and admire the sub-tropical foliage.
But what I remember most from those roadside stops was the way the local people always sent us on our way: “Y’all come back again!”
Whether it was the southern accent or the welcoming attitude behind the greetings, the message was directed not to any one individual – but to our whole family: “Y’all!”
In the most recognized prayer in all of Christianity – the Lord’s Prayer – and in many of Saint Paul’s letters in the New Testament, the grammar is clear: no singular first or second person pronouns in sight.
The instruction is directed not to me, nor you, nor any singular person. Ours is not an individualistic faith. Rather, the good news of Jesus Christ is directed towards a community: “Y’all!”
Christians believe in a personal faith. However, that personal faith is received within the context of a community of faith. When we pray, “Our Father in Heaven”, we are confessing that Jesus is not my exclusive, private God, but a God who embraces all people with His love and grace.
The Gospel is for “y’all”!
Happy New Year!
Our Lord Jesus, make us whole in your inclusive love for all. Amen.