a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 15, Friday, March 17, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, I write a prayer for each of the forty days of Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, truly, relating to a care or concern weighing on my mind and heart, at times, vexing my soul and spirit…

On Kingdom to “Kin_dom”: O Jesus, how I love You and Your Kingdom! Still, You know that for years I’ve prayed and preached using the word “kin_dom” (always begging Your pardon for my impertinence!).[1] Yet You know I’ve never meant any disrespect, but rather alway intend the highest act of honoring You and Your call to me to follow You, to see You more clearly. For You, as I have come and continue to come to know You, through Scripture and through the daily revelations of Your Spirit, are alway less monarchical and more relational; less One to lord Your superiority over us and, as You manifest Your supremacy in Self-sacrificial service, more One to share Your saving grace with us; less King and more Kin.

O Jesus, if You don’t mind, I’ll continue to pray to You saying, “kin_dom” (though, yes, when I read Your Word in public worship, I’ll stick to the text and say “kingdom”), for as I, through the strength of Your Spirit, continue to follow You, more and more, I see that You call me to be kin, too, to all people of whate’er race or clan, culture or creed, philosophical disposition or political determination, and at all times.

O Jesus, this is a hard calling; the sort of which that can get one killed, if not literally, surely metaphorically, though no less truly in self-denial, dying to one’s self in the face of difference, at times, dissent. But, then again, You already demonstrated the extent – unto death – to which Love goes in loving.

So, O Jesus, in Your Name and for Your Sake, kin I am to and for the whole world. Amen.


[1] The first time I used the word was in a sermon entitled Kin_dom on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 10, 2000. Based on the appointed gospel, Luke 3.1-6, recounting the ministry and message of John son of Zechariah, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” , I preached, in part: “John’s vision…is…about the coming kingdom of God  (although I prefer the word, “kin_dom”, being less monarchical and masculine, more relational and inclusive). A world of righteousness, right relating; justice, fair dealing; and compassion, shared living in suffering and joy…”

5 thoughts on “a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 15, Friday, March 17, 2017

  1. Dear Paul,

    “Less King and more Kin…” I love this! One of the reasons I am no longer “in church” is a lifelong excruciating struggle with patriarchal, monarchical attitudes and by extension, the metaphors and language that support and further them. I have watched such attitudes and beliefs do terrible damage to too many people, myself included, over the course of my lifetime. Thank you for this lovely and loving way through words I long ago had to reject to something I can embrace, and thank you for the beautiful prayer of fellowship, community, and mutuality the way through inspires.

    Much love,


    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, my dear sister Karen, I, too, have struggled with the religious language of patriarchy and monarchy. I, too, am sensitive to how oft the church has wounded folk when being rigid in the application of words and rituals…

      Moreover, once I arrived at the notion that words, at most and at best, are symbols always pointing beyond themselves to realities that would be difficult (perhaps impossible) to communicate without them, then I realized (and consciously began to notice) how no two people, each with her/his own individual experience, therefore, history and memory and worldview ever (can!) mean precisely the same thing when employed the same words. And how much more complicated is this when multiplying the numbers of folk engaged in the act/art of communicating meaning and over generations/centuries…

      All this – and I know you didn’t ask for all of this! – led me to an awareness of how necessary it is to examine and re-examine our language so to review and potentially revise it in our quest for truth and he sharing of that truth. This has become a decided element of my life’s labor.

      Love always and in all ways,


  2. Yeah Paul, I agree with what Karen said!! I didn’t hear that original sermon in 2000 when you used “kindom” (yes I read the footnotes) but I remember hearing or reading a few of your sermons and I LOVE the term!! Kin is so much more inclusive than King.

    I always get so much insight into my own life from your prayers and I hope that’s not a problem. An interesting thing happened to me in Cincinnati this week. In my presentation about my book I share that my sister and only sibling died of MS and that since then I had struggled with decisions about our mom on my own. During the question and answer period a woman got up to give a comment. Her comment to me was that though my biological sister had died, she felt she could speak for the large audience that all of us were “kin” in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and she wanted me to know she was proud to be my sister in this fight. The audience applauded in agreement with her. It made me forget at least for a few minutes of all the divisiveness and turmoil in this world today. So thank you for your reminder about Kindom. Keep doing what you’re doing though I know it’s not always doing!!

    Thanks and much love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My dearest Loretta, that my prayers aid you in gaining insight into your life is wondrously humbling for me. I am grateful, as I’ve shared with you many times, that I can be of any help to you…

      Your experience in Cincinnati with the member of the audience professing kinship with you brings me to tears! More than marvelous, especially, as you point out, in the light (or perhaps shadow) of the great and grave divisions of our day and time.

      Love, always and in all ways,

      Liked by 1 person

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