Saturday, July 31, 2010

Versions of the Lord's Prayer

This Week during my seminar on "The Way of Jesus", one of the days we will be focusing on the Prayer of Jesus. The other days we will focus on The Parables or Unconventional Wisdom of Jesus; the church/mission community of Jesus; and the meal of Jesus or communion and worship ala Jesus.

Found this link below I will be sharing with some great and radical versions of the Prayer or in the spirit of the Prayer. be sure to check out the bloggers version and the Kitchen Mother version. We will also be singing the Our Father in new and revised version by Susan Werner, which you can see at

Here are the alternative versions of different stripes.

Also below are some excerpts I will be sharing on The Lord's Prayer from Amy-Jill Levine from her book The Misunderstood Jew. I will also be sharing from the sermon series on The Lord's Prayer that is part of the new book of writings by the Rev. Thomas D. Wintle, Hear Pray Affirm, being sold by the UU Christian Fellowship. See the link at

And I will be showing a wonderful video clip out of the movie The Soloist where one of the main characters, based on a true story, of Nathaniel Ayers, mentally ill and homeless, is reciting the Lord's Prayer before going to sleep on the streets.

Here are excerpts from Levine:

From Amy-Jill Levine:
Lord's Prayer ... (Matthew 6:9-13) .. In Jewish thought, the designation of
the deity as "Father" develops substantially during the Second Temple
period, that is after the return from the Babylonian exile in 538 BCE. ...
Malachi 2:10 ... This understanding of God as father continues in synagogues today, where Jews speak of and to Av ha-rachamim ("Merciful Father") as well as Avinu malkenu "Our Father, our King") and proclaim, Hu avinu ("He is our Father). pp. 41-43

... the translation "Daddy" is incorrect. The term means "father", and is
not an expression associated primarily with little children. ... Even
Joachim Jeremias, the scholar who first proposed rthe translation "Daddy"
along with its unique attribution to Jesus, retracted his thesis and called
it "A piece of inadmissable naivete." p. 43

By speaking of the "Father in heaven," Jesus thus insists that Rome is not
the "true" father. p. 45

"Hallowed be your name," is a component of most Jewish prayers. p. 45

"Your Kingdomn come" correlates in Jewish tradition with the expression olam ha-bah, "the world to come." The "world to come" is the messianic age. a time distinguished from and infinitely better than "this world" (olam
ha-zeh). Jesus's plea for a divine kingdom to come has a conspicuous
political edge. The prayer seeks the divine kingdom, not the one of Caesar
or his lackeys ... p. 46

Perhaps the best translatiopm, then, would be, "Give us tomorrow's bread
today." for that makes the most sense in a first-century Jewish setting.
Jewish texts speak of the olam ha-bah, the world to come, as a glorious
banquet. Isaiah 25:6 .... In the church, taste of the messianic age is what
should be encountered at the Eucharist (Communion), at the "Lord's table."
"Give us tomorrow's bread today" therefore means "Bring about your rule,
when we can eat at the messianic banquet." p. 48

As for "Forgive us our trespasses," the original was most likely "Forgive us
our debts" ... It goes directly to the pocketbook; it says "Don't hold a
debt. if someone needs, give." This is a call for economic justice. p. 49

The Greek phrase usually translated "Lead us not into temptation" ios
better rendered "Do not bring us to the test." .... thus means "Do not put
us in a situation where we might be tempted to deny our faith or morals."
... "Evil" in the line "but rescue us from evil" is more precisely "the evil
one" ... on the colloquial level, the couplet may be seen as saying "Look,
God, I don't need testing from you, and I certainly don't need being brought
to the test by Satan." pp.50-51

The prayer is not "to Jesus"; it says nothing uniquely Christian; and it
fits neatly within Jewish piety. p. 51

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