Our Father

Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father

“Our”: not just a prayer for myself but for my community to, be defined in ever expanding terms. It is a collective prayer.

Father: the creator of all. Also mother works just as well here too, but both are metaphors for a relationship beyond our words and concepts.

Who art in Heaven

Who is totally other; standing outside the creation.

Hallowed be thy name

Of whom we can not speak. The creator is beyond all our categories and concepts; hence the Jews could not pronounce the holy name. YHWH (mis transliterated as Jehovah) is not a name so much as a statement of being. Paul Tillich called God “the ground of all being.” I don’t even like to use the word “God” as everybody has a different understanding of God; the word elicits different images and understandings in different people. I prefer the term “higher power” used in Alcoholics Anonymous, or even “transforming power” from the Alternatives to Violence Program; two terms left intentionally undefined.

Thy Kingdom come

Again a metaphor (how else can we speak of the numinous presence?). The point is that we ask that our lives, society, the creation be ordered according to the divine will.

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

An elaboration on the above line.

Give us this day our daily bread

As we only have this phrase in Greek (Aramaic versions of the Bible are really translations from the Greek back into what the translator thought would have been the Aramaic) I take “daily bread” to be the mana from heaven which fed the Hebrew people as they traveled through the desert after escaping from Egypt. They were unable to hoard this bread because it would go bad in one day so they had to have faith (since they couldn’t work, gather bread, on the Sabbath bread gathered the day before would  last for two days).

And forgive us our trespasses (transgressions, sins),

Accept us with our imperfections.

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Do not hold onto grudges or resentments.

and lead us not into temptation

Being imperfect, any temptation will draw us further from our desired unity with our creator.

But deliver us from evil. 

I consider it evil to take pleasure in inflicting pain and or suffering on another, be it a person or people, or creatures. Do not make us subject to those who would inflict pain what us or on those we love.

 

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