Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”


Surely one of the most astonishing claims of our faith is that almighty God, ‘maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen’ (to quote the Nicene Creed) actually, deeply cares about us humans. The psalmist offers the simple yet powerful claim, ‘though the Lord be high, he cares for the lowly’ (Psalm 138:7).

I think for many of us it is difficult to take this truth to heart. Frankly, it can be utterly terrifying to think that we can have a relationship of intimacy with almighty and omnipotent God. The Scriptures include many stories of individuals expressing fear that direct contact with the presence of God would result in instant death (e.g., Exodus 20:18-19, Judges 13:22). We find in these examples the idea that the presence of God is incredibly powerful, even dangerous. Yet at the same time we find countless other stories in the Scriptures that speak of God’s tender love and abiding care for us. These are not contradictory but rather complementary—both revealing essential aspects of the nature of God. Consider today’s text from Matthew’s gospel wherein Jesus presents us with a set of disarmingly simple injunctions about how to approach God: ‘ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you’ (Matthew 7:7).

The point is not that we get everything we ask for, exactly as requested. Prayer is not magic, but it is something altogether mysterious and beyond our ability to fully understand. Yet we are promised that God hears us and fulfills ‘our desires and petitions as may be best for us’ (BCP 102). God cares for us lowly, weak, and beloved creatures and indeed gives good things to those who ask.

prayer

Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006 p. 35)

Preacher

The Rev. Patrick Keyser

Priest Associate