Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Treasure in Heaven
Matthew 6:7-21 Commentary
by Richard Swanson
A friend suggested that Matthew’s story is governed by the Lord’s Prayer.
I like this suggestion. This little prayer has incredible power in any context, but in the flow of Matthew’s story it becomes something transcendent.
It matters that it is a little prayer. The storyteller says pagans are impressed by battalogia and polulogia. Babbling and long-winded wordiness are useful if the Deity demands groveling before deigning to respond. Babbling and long-winded wordiness are useful if what really matters is preening religious practice. I am the child of people who believe that directness and simple honesty matter, and that elaborate protocol is a sign of dishonesty. “Don’t try to snow me” might be our family motto. It’s refreshing to hear that Matthew’s Jesus could belong to our family. “God your father knows what you need,” he says. “He knows it before you ask, so don’t try to snow him.” Prayer trusts the nearness and readiness of God. That is worth remembering.
The Lord’s Prayer, however, ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL162: Treasure in Heaven
February 01, 2015
Narrative Lectionary podcast on readings for Feb. 1, 2015: Matthew 6:7-21 (Accompanying text: Psalm 20:7).