The Copernican Revolution refers to the radial reorientation of thought that the earth was not the center of our solar system. Prior to Copernicus the sun and planets were believed to revolve around the earth. But a heliocentric model reflects reality.
Our realities need a similar revolution. We can think that the world revolves around us. For from us and through us and to us are all things; to us be the glory both now and forever.
That skewed perception comes from the fall of the created order under the dominion of sin. Pride exerts the gravitational pull to egocentricity and self-glory.
A redemptive worldview changes all that. It restores proper order. It respects God’s created reality. That worldview is reflected in the model prayer Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6. In teaching us to pray this way, our Lord is exerting a Copernican Revolution of sorts, supplanting an egocentric model with a Hagiocentric one.
The Creator God we did not regard as holy in our fallen estate took His rightful place before our eyes and in our hearts to render unto Him the glory due His name. Rather than rejecting and reviling God in our rebelliousness, we now regard Him as the Creator who is to be forever praised. Jesus’ kingdom prayer trains our thinking and orients our ambition toward that end.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
We begin by recognizing who is God, and it’s not us. The God who has adopted us as His own children in Christ is the God who fills all in all. He is transcendent in glory and immanent in grace. It is not our name that is central, but His. He is magnified as the Sun, around which we revolve and from whom we derive what is needed to sustain life. He must increase; I must decrease.
Thy kingdom come.
His kingdom and His glory occupy our agenda and establish our priorities. He is the Sovereign Lord who reigns over His creation and builds His church. When we think of building, our first thought goes not to bigger barns to store our stuff but to the priorities, values, ethics, goals and gospel that characterize our King and promote His kingdom. Our hearts lay up their treasure where moth and rust cannot destroy nor thieves break in and steal.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
As each day unfolds in whatever it may hold, our refrain is “thy will be done.” Are we experiencing woe? Thy will be done! Are we experiencing weal? Thy will be done! The hand of our God is our point of reference in all things. And in the unfolding of life, we purpose heartfelt obedience, nourished in doing our Father’s will. “Trust and obey” expresses the rhythm of our days as disciples of Him in whom these things are illustrated for us.
Give us this day our daily bread.
We work hard to put food on the table, rising each day to head out to our labors. We prepare our meals with creative verve so that they appeal to eye and palate. But we know that ability and opportunity come from the open hand of our Father in heaven. All belongs to His provision. Saying grace before a meal is more than custom. It is an expression of theology. It embraces a redemptive worldview cognizant of the good things that litter our lives, and their origin.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
The atmosphere we breathe is enriched with grace. We would have died but God in His indescribable mercy brought us who were far away to be near Him, basking in the light of His glory, finding warmth in the embrace of His love. We were aliens, without hope and without God, having neither rights nor standing. Now in like fashion, we embrace others to be enveloped in that life-giving atmosphere of grace, because God is our center and not we ourselves.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
This model prayer is not for those in glory. It is for those still in this world; in the world but not of it. And this world is dangerous, even devil-filled, stalking, scheming, preying upon. Corners dark without the light of God’s Word hold great threat. We need the lamp of God’s truth to direct our steps and define our path. Unsavory things grow in darkness. We dare not walk alone, but with those of like faith. Our weakness becomes our strength—in the Lord.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
Whether the model prayer ends this way or not, it fits. It is the cry of the Copernican Revolution of our lives. It describes the radical reorientation of our being, of our purpose, of our days. Not unto us, not unto us, but to God be the glory both now and forever. So that whether we eat or we drink, or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of His name.
And so each day, taking up our cross to follow Jesus, this prayer shapes our perspective, directs our steps and enflames our hearts, living out what it means to be a new creation in Christ.