The Lord's Prayer
This week the lectionary looks at Luke's version of what we know as the Lord's Prayer, in Luke 11 v 2-4. It is shorter than the Matthean account and has lost some of the characteristic devices of Hebrew poetry that are in the longer version. There have been many theories expressed as to the differences between Luke and Matthew's accounts. Some suggest that Jesus actually taught it in 2 forms, and that it might be a sign that Jesus, as was the case with many of his contemporaries, was bilingual in Aramaic and Greek (or trilingual if you include the formal Hebrew of the synagogue and scriptures). However, personally I tend to the belief that this was the first record that we have of Luke translating not only words but ideas and poetic forms across linguistic and cultural boundaries.
I'm becoming increasingly aware that this once ubiquitous piece of Christian tradition is no-longer so well known in wider society. It is frequently mumbled in funerals and weddings, where once the congregation would have joined in confidently despite many of them having not been in a church since the last hatch, match or dispatch. In fact it has got to the stage that I'm thinking of suggesting that we put the words on the order of service or on screen. Or perhaps the time has come to re-translate the Lord's prayer for contemporary society.
What follows is a version I wrote for a family service a few years ago. If memory serves it owes more than a little to Rob Lacey's "The Word on the Street" (previously known as "The Street Bible":
God in heaven, you’re our dad.
We respect everything your name stands for,
and we want others to respect you and your name as well.
Please bring heaven
on earth: people living life your way, like the angels do.
Please bring us
all we need to keep us going this day.
Please forgive what we’ve done wrong,
in the same way we forgive what others have done to us.
Please protect us
from evil, whether we’re tempted or attacked by it.
Because you’re all that
you’re able to do everything and you deserve all the credit.
You’re in a league of your own,
You're in control.
Really and truly.
Count me in.