DELVING INTO THE “OUR FATHER”

 

Find the “Our Father” at Matthew 6:8-15 and Luke 11:1-4 (NIV 2011)).

 

The “Our Father” is a commonly recited prayer

derived from the New Testament,

but what does this prayer mean? 

I’m not sure what I really think about it,

but here are some ideas:

 

Our Father,(1)

 

Jesus taught his followers they did not have to be afraid to say the name of his deity – “Abba” – which means not “Father” exactly, but something more informal yet still respectful.  Tradition at that time was to refrain from saying the personal name of the local god (“Yahweh”) out of reverence or fear, and to refer to that god as “Lord.”  But Jesus had a different notion of the Divine, not a sky-god, fire-god, living on Mt. Sinai god, but a divine center within, a divinity closer than close (closer than a father-son relationship). 

 

You can give your higher-Self, your divine continuum, a name you choose.  It does not have to be Father or Mother or Auntie.  But as Jesus implied, it should be a familiar name, fine and noble.  We can say a name we choose without fear because we have no fear of our inner life.  What name do you choose?

 

I think Jesus chose to pray to “Abba” as a way of being free of fear, free of the ritualistic prayer formulas of that era, but this “new wine” can seem a bit old-fashioned now as we realize that God is not limited by gender.  “Abba” is Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.  I’ve heard that Abba might be gender-neutral if it was also used to mean any elder or mentor?? but how can we know exactly how a word was used verbally nearly 2,000 years ago?  What I’ve written about this Aramaic word is what I’ve heard over the years and cannot find anything more on it right now, except this dictionary definition from Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, through Biblegateway.com , “This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated ‘father.’ It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence.  It has no perfect equivalent in our language.”  Well, if it has no perfect equivalent in English, then how can I write about it?  The Greek text of the New Testament has Jesus saying what is translated into English as “Father,” many, many times.  But maybe Jesus always prayed “Abba” and never once prayed using an equivalent to the English “Father”?

 

What is the linguistic derivation of Yahweh, Abbi, Jehovah, Abba, abbot, papa, pope, padre, père, pater, father, vater?  Could they all come from the same root word?  What is a word anyway, other than just a word?

 

Something to consider when picking a name:  Is the gentle, providential Abba-god of Jesus the same god as “wrathful-sky-god-demanding-blood-sacrifice”?  Is Abba the same as “creator-god-who-walks-in-the-garden-of-Eden”?  The same as the “still-small-voice-within”?  Who is the god of Jesus and can we tell if it is different from the god (gods) of his biographers?

 

A thousand years or more before Jesus, Moses proposed a name for God:  “I am who am.”  Here God is not conceptualizing God-self as being in the grammatically-correct third person (I am the one who is); that is, thinking objectively of God-self as a discrete entity separate from all else that is, but unified in some way with it.  (Just “I am” is a good name for any sentient being.)

 

Notice it is “Our Father,” not “My Father.”  We are One with each other, too.

 

Was Jesus pushing a particular name?  Maybe we should all pray to “Abba”?  Or was Jesus, by giving this name as an example, really teaching about the nature of God, our relationship to God, what attitude we can have to God, and consequently what attitude we can have towards ourselves and others?

 

Furthermore, it is to be noted that the way each person relates to and names God is inescapably ‘unique’ and ‘exclusive’ to her or him, even when the same words are used. God as infinite and loving Mystery cannot but be experienced in diverse and unique ways by each individual.” . . . . a good point by Fr. Peter C. Phan.

 

Realistically though, men are not going to support a religion structured around male hierarchies unless God is labeled “he.”

 

Who art in heaven,

 

Meaning – “who is in heaven.”  Where is this heaven where the Divine resides?  This gets confusing because in English, “heavens” can mean the canopy of the clouds and sky, and at night the stars.  Obviously, God is not perched on a cloud up in the sky, although in ancient tradition, this was thought to be the case – how else could a god make rain come down upon the earth?  This spiritual heaven is not a physical location, but is rather the mysterious place “within” ourselves, where we have our inner life and our divine connection, a place as far beyond our comprehension as the heavens are above the earth.

 

This part of the prayer reminds the one praying that God is not to be equated with the material world but that God is apart somehow, in a “heaven” or accessible through a heaven.  And by the way, when I say “God” I simply mean the “Divine,” not a god created by any particular belief system (unless indicated otherwise).

 

It’s easy to visualize a heaven where God (here an old white man with a long, flowing beard) sits on a colossal gold throne on a cloud, holding court like a medieval monarch, with Jesus on a matching throne “at God’s right hand,” with legions of angels playing on harps, with transitioned souls gazing in awe, while St. Peter guards the gated entrance reading from his enormous book of sins, denying entrance to those “unworthy;” an abode of the dead much like Pluto’s underworld.  But I question if the Divine has gender or beard or a kingly court, or if the Divine could find any beloved child unworthy, or if it is only people who find other people unworthy.

 

Hallowed be thy name;

 

Meaning – “sanctified be your name.”  I suppose this could be an exclamation of praise for God’s name, or it could mean that God’s name should be honored or celebrated.  But I’ll guess that this was meant to be a statement of what is, not what should be.  I’ve read that “praying in Jesus’ name” means to pray using his “way” or his method.  So perhaps saying that God’s name is holy is the same as saying God’s “way” is holy.  Way implies a process.  So the process by which the Divine acts is holy, that is, sound, perfect, whole, complete, good, sacred, etc.  If so, can my path provided by the Divine be less than holy?  In this part of the prayer the one praying is reminded that God can be trusted.

 

I don’t think that “hallowed be thy name” means we should elevate a particular name – a delimiting arrangement of vowels and consonants – at least not to the extent of making it the linguistic equivalent of a golden calf, just the reverse of Jesus’ call to freedom and worship in spirit.

 

On the other hand, maybe the ancients would think that a name or any word used magically had power in and of itself and so this part of the prayer is in line with the commandment “Do not take the name of the Lord in vain” (do not misuse the power of the name or profane it or use it casually?)

 

Here in the US, God’s name (“God”) is printed up or broadcast in all manner of venues, even on the money, but I don’t recall anyone saying that is irreverent.  So standards change.

 

Thy kingdom come;

 

I’ll have to assume the original Greek of the New Testament contains imperative verbs which result in these imperious and exclamatory-sounding bursts in English.  This may be simply a traditional way of addressing gods and goddesses in the first century, even though it is awkward to modern ears.  (I’ll let you know right here near the beginning that I do not know Greek and anytime I talk about Greek, I am relying on others to tell me meanings.)

 

I think the Bible is clear that while the establishment of the kingdom of heaven is a future event, the coming of this kingdom is an ongoing process – it “comes.”  I suppose this part of the prayer could be meant to be a petition to hasten the establishment of the kingdom, but I suspect that it is rather intended to be a statement of what is.  And what is this “kingdom” that is now coming?  Perhaps it is the gradual development of the fruit of humankind (the “Son of Man”), or of a unified consciousness of all sentient beings, or some form of personal enlightenment.

 

Apparently, the Greek for “heaven” can also mean an “expansion,” and thus with a little imagination we get the “kingdom of expansion,” (2) which could be a reference to expanding consciousness.  Such a translation would be consistent with Bible imagery explaining the expanding nature of the kingdom.   My Greek-English dictionary does not confirm this (maybe get a new dictionary?) but tells me that the ancient Greek word for heaven also means sky.  And I would say that the sky is an expanse.  Anyway, I think it is clear from the New Testament that the kingdom of heaven is at least in part a state of mind, that is, “not of this world;”  a condition of mind where one must “become like a little child” in order to experience it.  Given all that, it is not clear how the kingdom of heaven could also be an apocalyptic dictatorship under a “king” as seemingly forecast by Revelation and other parts of the New Testament

 

Perhaps this part of the prayer is a reminder to the one praying that his/her personal growth in awareness is ongoing, and that the kingdom comes / will be established without fail.  Will the kingdom ever stop evolving?

 

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Again, spiritual heaven is a place “within” ourselves, where we have our inner life and our divine connection.  “Earth” would seem to be the material world, the personal existence which we experience. 

 

This part of the prayer is reminiscent of the passage in the Bible where Peter is given “keys” (clues or secrets) as to how reality works:  Whatever is bound in inner consciousness (in “heaven”) becomes manifest in the outer material world (on “earth”) in some way – “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 (New International Version 2011)) see footnotes in NIV).  This understanding in tenses is not available in the King James Version: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  The NIV has heaven affecting earth (heaven >> earth); the KJV has the reverse (earth >> heaven).

 

That heaven is not a dwelling for the divine and the dead, but is rather a consciousness under our control is also indicated in the passage, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20 (King James Version (KJV))).  We are to understand that we manipulate this heaven and it serves us.

 

Does this mean “thoughts held in mind produce their own kind,” and if I want new clothes, or a fine house, better health, etc., all I need to do is “attract” these with my thoughts, in effect, practicing magic, but really achieving exactly the opposite of what I intended, that is, reinforcing a sense of lack and anxiety?  All those struggling to maintain a “prosperity consciousness,” and out-picture toys and goodies for themselves would do well to remember that God might not share their concept of prosperity. 

 

The Good News is that we do not need to struggle.  All that is needed is to “let go and let God,” that is, maintain a sense of equilibrium, disinterested detachment (neither grasping after pleasure nor practicing avoidance), and allowing God to do God’s will.  If God is good, then God’s will for us is only good.  In this part of the prayer, the one praying becomes oriented to this reality, accepts the will of the Divine and becomes aligned with it.  What would the outer world be like if each of us expressed our inner divine qualities just a little bit?

 

Footnotes in the Revised Standard Version (RSV)(3) for the “Our Father” reinforce this idea of a relationship between the inner and outer with the variants, “as in heaven, so on earth” / “done in earth” for Matthew and “as in heaven, so in earth” for Luke.  This sounds like a positive feed-back loop.  As one varies, so the other.  An equation which is reversible.  What would be a good example of this type of two-way interaction?  How about this:  I have within me ability to focus attentively and appreciatively (inner) and it allows me to find objects of beauty (outer).  I see a beautiful flower (outer) and it lifts my spirits (inner). 

 

Maybe God’s will is not only volition, but also a divine-life expressing both in the inner and in the outer.  The will then is an influential life-force or “energy” within us and around us, an instrument by which God acts?  Can God’s will actually be separated from God’s actions?  To will-it is to implement-it if you are a god.  To put it more simply, God abides with us.

 

I don’t have any definite personal convictions about heaven, god-expressing or inner/outer but am trying to guess at what the original writers might have had in mind.  I think I have much stronger opinions about what this prayer is not, than what it is.

 

When I was a child, my understanding of this part of the prayer was that God is a Lawgiver (ten commandments and other prescriptions for moral / tribal behavior in the Bible) and that in God’s heaven (here we are back on the cloud) all the inhabitants of God’s kingly court obey God’s will (laws) and all behave themselves.  Likewise, here on planet Earth we should all be good girls and boys and behave ourselves (heaven >> earth). 

 

Now I am pondering what role ethics and theology play in true spirituality.  I am remembering Jesus said little about God or ethics, often speaking in parables.  Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would / could just shape up and behave the way they should?  Why doesn’t the great Lawgiver in the sky just make them behave?  And wouldn’t it be just so incredibly reassuring to me if everyone would parrot the same religious slogans I find so comforting?  But how would that help me spiritually? 

 

Who does God’s will?  God.

 

I cannot prove to you that there is a god.  But I can postulate that any god worthy of the name should be able to act according to its will (intent); and its will will be done (performed by itself) as it willed (intended), because its intent is synonymous with its performance.  Accordingly, will is also synonymous with the result.  So God does God’s will.  And does it exactly right.  When we say, “Thy will be done,” all we are saying is, “You (God) do your (God’s) will,” but in the imperative and passive form; nevertheless, acknowledging that this willing/doing by God is ongoing.

 

Does God’s will (influence) ever cease?  Can we somehow separate ourselves from God by our “free will”?  My take on it is that even if we in fact have free will of some sort, whatever we do with our free will is not unexpected to the Divine, and that we cannot ever be separated from the good intent of the Divine who/which is an integral part of us and is drawing us to itself.  Here I am reminded that God is Love; that we are sheltered “even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,” (KJV) that God is searching for us like the woman who sweeps and searches carefully until she finds her lost coin, and that “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me” (Psalm 139:9-10 (KJV)).  God’s will is being done in us and for us (not by us).  Now and always without ceasing.

 

How does this translate into my life?  “He leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2 (KJV)).  Somehow God is instrumental in growing my mind – freeing me from resentments, remorse, regrets, fear, anger, etc., anything that would inhibit full awareness.  “The wind and waves are stilled.”  In this way I am becoming a fitting vessel for God-indwelling and I can be God-expressing in the outer (will >> heaven >> earth).

 

My Daily Word reminds me, “I do all that I do in love.”  I express in the outer the love in my heart that originates with God (will >> heaven >> earth).

 

Here’s a musty old version of the “Our Father” from “14th century MS, No. 142” in St. John’s college library, Cambridge:  “Fader oure that art in heuene, halewed be thi name: come thi kyngdom: fulfild be thi wil in heuene as in erthe: oure ech day bred 3ef vs to day, and for3eue vs oure dettes as we for3eueth to oure detoures: and ne led vs nou3 in temptacion, bote deliuere vs of euel. So be it.”  (Sacred-texts.com)  Notice that it says “fulfilled be thy will.”  Who is most likely to be fulfilling God’s will completely?  Must be God.  Also notice the reversal “in heaven as in earth” (earth >> heaven) compared to the modern “on earth as it is in heaven (heaven >> earth).  Maybe the 14th century writer was trying to reconcile Matthew 16:19 (NIV 2011) (discussed above) with the “Our Father” and got both backwards.

 

The official flag of Vatican City (located in Rome, Italy) shows a design of two crossed keys and the papal tiara (the Pope’s crown), so these keys (Peter’s?) and their symbolism (earth >> heaven?? or heaven >> earth??) are very important to the Vatican.  Is there an interesting story behind this design?  Well, moving on.

 

Give us this day our daily bread;

 

I suppose this part of the prayer could be a petition for bread, but I suspect that it is basically a reminder to the one praying that the Divine knows all our needs and provides for us.  Everything we need in order to achieve God’s purpose (whatever that might be) is being given to us.  In this flow of abundance, we can recognize blessings.  The one praying is filled with gratitude. 

 

We can make petitions, even give specific instructions to the deity, but this will in no way change it nor stop it from providing for us in the best possible way.

 

An Analysis of the Greek(4) lets me know that the original Greek in Matthew asks for that “necessary for existence.”  This is more than just “bread”!  Think about the passage, “It is written, Man [people] shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (KJV)   I am sure I do not know what my Existence is, let alone what is necessary to sustain it.  But yet I can exclaim imperatively, “Give it to me/us.”

 

The Analysis also lets me know that the original Greek in Matthew says “for the coming day,” which can be today or tomorrow.  Quite a different concept than “Give us this day our daily bread;” in fact, I think it is better to go with the original, especially if one is praying in the evening and is mindful of tomorrow’s “bread.”  Luke has the redundant “each day, day by day” in the original Greek so there is no way to miss a day, even if you forget to pray.

 

Can I joyfully anticipate tomorrow’s bread?

 

Later writers put the Eucharist (bread of communion) in there somewhere, a bread to nourish us not just in the personal existence which we experience, but also to provide some spiritual sustenance beyond that.

 

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

 

Samsara is full of this trespassing as we step on one another’s toes.  None of this is a surprise to the Divine who has nothing but Compassion for us and who consequently never holds a grudge.  Technically, the Divine does not “forgive” because there is no offense taken, no lack of love and support on the part of the Divine.  God doesn’t have to stop and make a decision – “should I forgive or not?” 

 

This part of the prayer could be a petition (“please, please, please forgive us”) or an imperative demand (“forgive us !!!”), but I prefer to think the one praying is acknowledging that God has a forgiving attitude towards us, a tolerant, benevolent, sustaining, and caring attitude.  “You are forgiving us now and in every moment.”

 

The one praying is reminded that none of life’s events can affect our inherent wholeness or our inherent worth in the mind of God.

 

The New Testament translation “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:8-15 (NIV 2011)) raises questions – how can we incur a debit with God, as if God were some sort of banker holding a loan?  God never runs out of love or has a love-deficiency, no matter what our deficiencies may be.  We may need to feel remorse and we may need to turn back to the Divine for our own spiritual health.  But God does not become “wrathful” or demand a “blood sacrifice” or other debt payment. 

 

This is not to say that there are no consequences of my sin on my own life or lives I touch, and I think that ongoing forgiveness can be understood as assistance in remediation or renewal.  The one praying acknowledges that God is always making all things new.  “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare” (Isaiah 42:9 (KJV)).

 

We regain the Peace of the Divine when we make room for this peace in our consciousness by forgiving others.  We cannot have peace while still consumed by anger.  This part of the prayer is a reminder to the one praying that forgiveness of others is an essential element in spiritual progress.

 

But isn’t there a wrath-filled god lurking out there somewhere just waiting for us to make a mistake so “he” can cast us into a fiery “hell;” a god incapable of showing mercy unless we swallow some particular religious formulation (with one gulp like a pill)?  My sense of it is that while I can make mistakes, my Guide does not make mistakes, and therefore, I will not be a mistake.  I cannot fail to find my way home and God will not fail in God’s purpose for me.

 

I’ve noticed that there are old, even ancient ideas (such as the idea that God needs to be “pacified” – make offerings and “I will be pacified towards you, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 43:27 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)), alongside Jesus “new” teaching in the New Testament.  Are these old ideas reactionary or were they put there intentionally to give first-century readers their bearings so they could be weaned away from the old ideas?  Maybe we in the 21st century need to focus on the new.  Isn’t it about time?

 

Instead of “debts” Luke has “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” (See footnote at Luke 11:1-4 (NIV 2011)) – translation has sins . . . . sins, but footnote clarifies to sins . . . . indebted.)  Is it A. “debts” or B. “sins”?  Both?  Neither?  Are the authors tweaking us a little bit, trying to get us to decide?  Maybe we find the answer in the welcome given the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31).  God’s not keeping score.

 

And lead us not into temptation,

 

This part of the prayer has got to be a translation error as the Divine does not lead us into harm and does not need to be told not to do this.  I took a look at a French missal(5) to see how that translation was done.  It is entirely different and says:  “et ne nous laissez pas succomber à la tentation;” meaning, “do not let us succumb to temptation.”  Much better.  (Oddly enough, both the English and French versions have an “Imprimatur.”)

 

The Analysis derives a meaning from the original Greek in Matthew that makes perfect sense.  Think of the millions praying in English, “lead us not into temptation,” as if God were on a par with the Tempter, when the original apparently permits the understanding “do not cause (or allow) . . . to enter into.”  My Greek-English dictionary does not confirm this understanding, but it is reasonable nonetheless.

 

Somehow the inspiration of the Divine is present in our inner life and can be relied on to prevent us from getting tangled up in “temptation.”  This part of the prayer is a reminder to the one praying to rely on that inspiration.

 

“Lead into temptation” can also be translated as “put to the test.”  What kind of a god would toss us into trials, tribulations, temptations, and tests?  We do not assume God does this.  Rather we ask that God not allow it.

 

A friend has suggested that the intended meaning is that the Divine leads us away from doing harm.  Yes, by all means, lead us away from opportunities to harm ourselves and others, and be burdened with regrets.  And conversely, give us opportunities to excel in what will benefit all.  “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me.” (Psalm 43:3 (KJV)).

 

Upon reflection, it seems to me that possibly, this “lead us not into temptation” could be not an error (transcription, translation, or in the original) but rather a deliberate challenge to our understanding.  I’m speculating there could be many such challenges among difficult passages, deliberately designed to increase awareness.  In this case we gain an awareness that God is on our side.

 

But deliver us from evil.

 

This part of the prayer begs the question of what is evil and where evil comes from, and doesn’t answer it.  God is not blamed for evil.  God is not accused of being the creator of evil.  (Who could have a relationship with such a god?)  God is not asked to eliminate or vanquish the evil.  Rather, the Divine is asked to “deliver us” from it. 

 

This is reminiscent of a mail carrier delivering a package or a midwife delivering a baby.  Think of movement and release as the baby is gently grabbed and released to the mother.  Think of the postal worker carrying and guarding the package and releasing it at its destination.  “Rescue” is apparently also a permissible translation, suggesting a lifeguard pulling a floundering swimmer from a swift undertow. 

 

If we are drowning in evil, we may need a shift in perception in order to illuminate what is good.  This part of the prayer is a reminder to the one praying that the Divine is shepherding us through this process, in which the “eye” is the “lamp” of the “body,” in other words, our perception is the way we illuminate our personal universe.

 

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.”  (Luke 11:34 (NIV 2011))

 

The same passage in the KJV is rather unenlightening; however, the NIV adds in footnotes that the Greek for “healthy/unhealthy” implies “generous/stingy.”  I would add that “perception of abundance/lack” might also be somewhere in there. 

 

Illuminating with one’s perception can mean simply putting everything in the best possible light, or finding a gift or blessing in conjunction with a difficulty, but other forms of transformation also come to mind:  “transforming negative energy into wisdom,” or even bestowing our forgiveness (that of self and higher-Self, jointly), “Father, [we] forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 (KJV)) in order to alter one’s own awareness of a situation.  “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 (KJV)) is another transformational idea. 

 

On the other hand, “deliver us” could mean that we approve of the ongoing work of salvation by the Christ, a Savior sent to us by God.  The Christ is a perfect copy (Son, Word) of God, or a composite of such copies, generated as God thinks objectively with absolute clarity of itself as “I am who is.”  Or the Christ is somehow like one of the 1,001 definitions that have been proposed for Christ.  Overall, the idea that some aspect of a power beyond us is always there to rescue or transform us and fill us with Wisdom (as much as it possibly can) is very positive.  But does theology really need to be this complicated?

 

Some New-Agers would maintain that perception is the foundation of All in the material world and so would have me blaming myself for any evil I perceive.  But am I responsible for the circumstances of my life, for the Haiti earthquake, for planetary over-population, and global warming?  Maybe I am supposed to think that I am co-creating my material world with Divine input, much like the unborn baby creates her own placenta with nourishment from her mother?  Maybe I am the center of the universe?  Oh, please!  I only take responsibility for transforming my own inner life, with help from my Shepherd-guide, who is delivering me to my destiny.

 

Here is a bit not included in the Catholic version of the “Our Father,” but attributed to “other authorities, some ancient” in an RSV footnote:

 

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

 

Meaning – “For yours is the kingdom,” etc.  For some reason (inertia?) the old English forms of second person singular pronouns are still used in this prayer (thy, thine) instead of the modern English (your, yours).  This tradition must be confusing to the children or anyone else starting to learn about this. 

 

All these come solely from the Divine:  conscious awareness, power to manipulate the material world, and the glory to which we are destined.  The Divine is our only Source and is not limited by time.  Are we?

 

This part of the prayer is an odd mix of present tense (“is”) and “forever.”  It could have read “will be . . . . forever.”  This reinforces my notion that this prayer is primarily a statement of what is – now.  And it will be “now” forever.  At least for those who live in the current moment.

 

The NIV has “for yours is.”  Evidently, what follows is considered one single quantity – kingdom and power and glory – or else it would be “for yours are.”

 

My understanding is that “Amen” means “so be it.”  As we bind this prayer in the inner, so it is bound in the outer.  So in heaven, so in earth.

 

Could all this have been what Jesus meant when he prayed the “Our Father” in his original Aramaic language?  I sure don’t know for sure.  What do I really believe about this prayer?

 

I think “believe” is the wrong word here.  Maybe “trust” is a better word?  Do I trust absolutely?  I don’t know anything with absolute certainty, so how can I trust absolutely?  I prefer to trust.  I prefer to trust that my tiny flimsy raft held together with the duct tape of hand-me-down theological constructions, my life experiences, and my own little insights, will float on the swirling but unerringly directed currents of time and fortune to arrive one day at Pentecost, a forever moment when I realize what is Spirit, what Bread of Life has been shared with me, and who I am.

 

By the way, I don’t think I would call this prayer the “Lord’s Prayer,” unless I thought Jesus called it that.

 

_____________________________

(1)  Words of the “Lord’s Prayer” in the New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal Complete Edition, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, NY, 1974, page 44.  {Imprimatur; Nihil Obstat}  Find the “Our Father” at Matthew 6:8-15 and Luke 11:1-4 (NIV 2011)).

 

(2)  Dr. Joseph Garduno, “What is Heaven?” Abundant Living, Delia Sellers Ministries, Inc., June 2010.

 

(3) ‘RSV’ – Synopsis of the Four Gospels, Greek-English Edition, Edited by Kurt Aland, Third edition, United Bible Societies, 1979, p.57.  The English text is the second edition of the Revised Standard Version.

 

(4) ‘Analysis’ – An Analysis Of The Greek New Testament; A Grammatical Analysis Of The Greek New Testament, Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, unabridged revised edition in one volume, Biblical Institute Press, Rome, 1981.

 

(5) Words of the “Oraison Dominicale” in the Missel pour célébrer L’Eucharistie, Maison Mame, France, 1957, page 1.  {Imprimatur; Nihil Obstat}

 

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2 Responses to DELVING INTO THE “OUR FATHER”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed this very much. I have often been in meetings where the “Lords Prayer” is recited at the end of the meeting. I bow my head and follow along (I was raised Lutheran) and always in the back of my head I can tie in this Christian prayer with how it applies to my own Buddhist beleifs. In its simplicity, without all the religious attachments, it is pure and spiritual. I like how you pose question to meanings and go back to the root of the words. Thank You.

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