Contemporary Scripture Reflections for Spiritual Seekers
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, BCC, PCC

July 24th, 2022
Pray that
sanity will prevail and that all those suffering on account of the terrible conflict in Ukraine will find the comfort and resources they need.  
Excerpt from
A Pocketful of Sundays
EAS, C.2009

Nothing is impossible to God...

The most complex situations we can imagine are simple to God; the only complexity is the mess we make while trying to find solutions without God.

In our ignorance and arrogance, we think logic can make sense of chaos and that a strong arm can bring about peace. Misguidedly, we resort to violence and retaliation, supposedly to create a safer world.

We create panic at home, pursuing terrorists everywhere while creating terror ourselves. God does things differently...

When we let God be God, then the lost are found and prodigals come home; hardened hearts soften and sinners repent; the young begin to prophesy while the old see visions.

Nothing is impossible to God...

When we let God be God, then walls tumble, dictators topple and oppressive systems collapse. When we let God be God, even global warming can be reversed,

We make bombs; God provides bread. We stockpile weapons; God offers grace. We manipulate technology to destroy life; God makes us fertile and says, "Increase and multiply!" Multiplication, however, is too simple for us; we prefer subtraction.

Because we see scarcity rather than abundance, we think there is insufficient to go around and that we therefore need to limit other countries' access to the world's resources. This is why genocide happens.

God says, "There is enough to go around--enough food, enough water, enough oil!" We want to hoard; God says, "Share!" We want to make a profit; God says, "Be prophetic!"

"What can one person do?" we ask. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos all asked the same question.
God says, "Give me one person and I will change the world."

Nothing is impossible to God...


  • How do you interpret the line, "Lead us not into temptation?"
  • Do you pray for specific outcomes or do you surrender outcomes to God?
  • What does it mean to persist in prayer?
  • Do you believe in the power of evil or do you consider evil to be an archaic concept?


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Greetings, SBT Readers!

What does it mean to be "righteous"? For observant Jews, there is more to being "righteous" than merely observing the 613 mitzvot or commandments in the Torah. Praying for the world -- or being an intercessor-- is, in fact, one of the hallmarks of a "righteous" person. Just as in our first reading (Gn 18:20-32) Abraham begs the Judge of the World to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the innocent --whether 50, 45,40,30,20 or 10-- so the truly righteous person is concerned with the fate of the world, not just with personal well-being. As it turns out, there must have been fewer than 10 innocent citizens as Gn 19 details the destruction of the two towns, and the sparing of Lot and his two daughters.

As we think about the state of the modern world, let us remember all the innocent stakeholders-- all the children, generations yet unborn, all creatures that dwell upon the Earth, or in the air or in the waters... If we are truly righteous, we will pray a new world into being -- a world without war, without violence, without hatred, without disease, without famine, without human rights violations...

Many Blessings!


Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."
Lk 11: 1-13

Given how central The Lord's Prayer is to Christianity, it is interesting that this prayer only appears in the Gospels of Matthew (Matt 6:9-13) and Luke (Lk. 11:1-13). Comparing the two texts, we find that there is not only a difference in terms of context but that there are also some variations in content; the main concepts, however, are the same.

Let's begin by focusing on context. In Matthew's account, The Lord's Prayer is part of The Sermon on the Mount. As such, it follows teachings on such topics as Anger, Adultery, Divorce, Retaliation, Love of Enemies and Almsgiving. Surrounded by a sizeable crowd, Jesus instructs his followers to avoid hypocrisy and public displays of devotion; instead, they are to pray in secret and avoid babbling. In contrast, in Luke's version, Jesus' disciples, observing him praying, ask that he teach them how to pray. John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray and so the implication is that they expect a different approach. Also, Jesus' later comments highlight the need for persistence in prayer and for the confidence that God will provide all that is good.

The easiest way to show differences in content between Matthew's version and Luke's, is to highlight the lines in Matthew that are missing in the shorter version:

"Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
        on earth as in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread;
    and forgive us our debts,
        as we forgive our debtors;
    and do not subject us to the final test,
        but deliver us from the evil one.

We can list the similarities as follows:
Addressing God as "Father"; praying that God be reverenced either through human praise or through Divine acts of power (or both); praying for the coming of God's reign upon the Earth; asking for daily sustenance; requesting forgiveness based on our willingness to forgive those who have harmed us in any way; and praying that we be spared the "final test" or the time of great trial (N.B. the more familiar version of this line is "Lead us not into temptation").

Luke's version of The Lord's Prayer omits some important concepts. In the first place, there is no reference to a "heavenly realm." While distinguishing between "heaven" and "earth" could lead one to assume that heaven is a geographical location or a "post death" experience, "heaven" is a state of being - the Love energy that is God, out of which each of us has come and to which each of us is invited to return, not only after we die but also while we are alive in this world. As the great saints and mystics have taught us, heaven and earth are not mutually exclusive -- heaven, in fact, lies all around us if we only had eyes to see it and the will to experience it. Unfortunately, we have dichotomized the human experience into the "worldly" and the "heavenly," the "profane" and the "sacred." Instead of embracing the Mystery of life and living as spiritual beings, we rely on religious observance to serve as a ticket to a blissful afterlife.

Yes, "heaven" is our destiny but it can also be our present tense reality. The secret is the missing line, "Thy will be done." When we live in God's Will, aligning ourselves with God's dream for each of us and for the world, we are "in heaven"; in contrast, when we willfully pursue our own ends, the outcome can become a living hell-- for ourselves and others. "I'll do it my way" is the voice of hubris, the voice of the fool who lives as though there is no God, the voice of those who will not bend to a higher power but only deify themselves. Sadly, most of us have fallen into willfulness at some point in point in our lives and have lived to regret it -- that's why we need forgiveness. Then there are those who, having tumbled into willfulness one choice at a time, cannot escape its clutches. And so it is that we-- and they-- need to be delivered from the Evil One who distorts our thinking and misguides our steps.

But deliver us from Evil...

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Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart | |

C. All Photos by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart,