Home
Christ Church
Worship
Sermons
Children's Ministries
Spiritual Formation
Music
Ministries
Mission and Outreach
Giving
Ways to Serve
Worship Times

Sundays
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
(spoken service)

10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
(with full choir, hymns)

Wednesdays
7:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist with Healing Prayer


Directions to
Christ Church


handicap_sign
Our church, restrooms and meeting space are handicap accessible.

calendar button_72

The Lord's Prayer
A sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Gale Davis on July 28, 2013

Proper 12 C, July 28, 2013ca

Genesis 18:20-32; Psalm 138; Colossians 2:6-19; Luke 11:1-13

 

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that I have been praying since I was a child.  When I was young, my mom used to pray the Lord’s Prayer with me and my brothers every night as part of our routine for going to bed. Sometimes I yawned when we were praying, and from a very early age I thought that yawn was a sign from God that God was listening.  As I grew older I thought of the yawn more as a sign that the Holy Spirit was filling me and was with me. And even as I grew up to know that one yawns when one is tired, I still had the sense that when I was praying and I would yawn,  God was somehow giving me a physical sign that we were connected, that God was with me, knew me, heard my prayers. So, through those words, through those prayers prayed with familiarity and repetition, the words seeped into me as much as they reached longingly and hopefully for a connection to the One who IS -- God.

Of course my mother used the version of the Lord’s Prayer from the King James Bible, the “traditional” one we use here most often also, the one from the Book of Common Prayer.

As an aside, I once had someone tell me that the reason they only used the King James Version of the bible was because it is the one that Jesus used when he prayed. And she meant it. She believed it. 

We, of course, being 21st century, sophisticated and educated folks, know that the King James version had more to do with poetry, the printing press,  and the Elizabethan sense of imposing British Colonial political structures into history than it did with actually translating the bible from Aramaic or Latin or Greek. This is not wrong -- in fact the poetry of the King James Bible is beautiful and gives meaning way beyond the words. But it may have lost some of the meaning and nuances that Jesus intended in the translation.  So I find it quite meaningful to explore other translations, to see if I can “go deeper” with God in praying this familiar, life-giving prayer.

For the truth is, each time we study scripture or read translations, even if they are meant to be exact translations from the original texts, we read back into them the story and values of our own time and take a little of the time, story and culture from which the translation came to us.  Like nuanced layers added to give flavor, meaning and holiness, we inherit the cultures of times past with every translation, not just the culture of the time it was written originally. When I started to realize that all scripture comes with all those layers attached -- and it wasn't until I was in seminary that I did -- the words of scripture took on even more power and more meaning for me, for they contained not only my own and my contemporaries’ understanding, but the layers of generations of people who prayed them, studied them and lived by them.

The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus used to teach the disciples and all of us about how to pray and what to pray is perhaps -- for me anyway -- the best example of how that can be true, how praying the words I know so well, the meaning and depth so engrained into my conscious and subconscious, take on greater depth and greater meaning by praying them with other cultures and through others’ eyes.

My first break from praying it the way my mother taught me from the King James version was when in seminary. We had to learn to preach and celebrate in a developing nation’s language. I was ordained in San Jose, California, and because there were so many immigrants, a diocesan requirement was that we be able to communicate with the immigrant people in their native language. So knowing that I probably would never understand/learn Vietnamese or Chinese or Korean, I studied Spanish along with my seminary course work. And Spanish, though after still more years of study, does not fall trippingly from my tongue. I was able to read and speak it well enough to pass the “celebrate and preach” test for ordination.  But Spanish has become for me a spiritual language, a language of prayer, and first and foremost is the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish.

Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo, santificado sea tu Nombre, venga tu reino, hágase tu voluntad, en la tierra como en el cielo. 

It doesn't translate exactly to the King James I knew so well. There is something more that cielo -- ”heavenly ceiling” -- adds. It brings a dimension to my understanding of heaven just as santificado --  ”sanctifying” -- adds and gives deeper meaning to the word “hallowed”, even when I pray them again in English. 

It is as if the Mexican culture, that accompanied so much of my growing up in California, seeps into the layers of praying.....

Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray. He wanted them to know that they should pray with boldness, persistence, and confidence that God would answer them. He wanted them to be intimate with God, as intimate as with a parent. He wanted them to know, through that intimacy, the source of their daily bread and the root of their ability to forgive and be forgiven. For me, praying the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish, and from other traditions, has given me deeper intimacy with God -- a deeper appreciation for the poetry of King James translators, and a hope that my relationship with an intimate God will only continue to deepen over time.

I went on from praying the Spanish version of the Lord’s Prayer to the one found in The New Zealand BCP. Maybe some of you have heard it?

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen

“A hallowing of God’s holy name echoing through the universe!”  What a wonderful way of saying Hallowed be thy name. But also the words seem reflective of a nation of beauty which New Zealand certainly is, and a continuing appreciation for poetry and holiness. But there is that “commonwealth” right smack dab in the middle of the prayer, a word that certainly comes right out of Colonial political structures! At home in this context but, perhaps, in need of more translation in other contexts.

I have also found two translations from the original Aramaic, ones that were made by folks unfamiliar with the Lord’s Prayer. I find these to be very prayerful ways into a deeper connection with God too, but each also a reflection of the translator, scholarly though they are.

 

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration. Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

 

“Birther of all radiance and vibration” says something about this author’s relationship with the holy and perhaps with his own father. But it also gives us a way of thinking about holiness, radiant and vibrant. We can think of it softening the ground of our being so that the eternal Presence may abide in us -- so rich a thought!

And I especially love the translation from scholar Neil-Douglas Klotz. For years I kept a copy of it printed out on the side of my computer screen so that I could pray it when I needed to force myself from the familiar and take it to the next step, hoping for guidance, direction or comfort from God.

 

O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos

Focus your light within us - make it useful.

Create your reign of unity now-

through our fiery hearts and willing hands

Help us love beyond our ideals

and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

Animate the earth within us: we then

feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

Untangle the knots within

so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Don't let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.

Out of you, the astonishing fire,

Returning light and sound to the cosmos.

Amen.

 

In this translation, Heaven becomes cosmos, “focus your light within us” is parallel to hallowed be thy name. “Help us love beyond our ideals and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures,” instead of give us this day our daily bread. “Untangle the knots within so that we can mend our hearts’ simple ties to each other” expresses forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. “Don’t let surface things delude us, but free us from what holds us back from our true purpose” for deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory -- in this modern translation from original Aramaic becomes “Out of you the astonishing fire, retuning light and sound to the Cosmos. Amen!” 

In my wanderings thru translations I can find a depth and an invitation to intimacy with God that I believe Jesus was trying to express to his friends and followers when he first taught them these oh-so-familiar words. We are wise to repeat them as we learned them, with homage to our Anglican heritage begun with King James, for in that deep knowing of the words we find solace and comfort and connection and inheritance. But we are equally wise to allow ourselves to hear the familiar in the less familiar, to explore the depth of our hearts using new words and new ways, other heritages, other cultures, other wisdom and scholarship so  that our relationship with God might be made anew again and again. 

Amen

 

I have copied the prayers I have quoted this morning and have them in the back of the church for you. I invite you to take a copy and use it for your own prayer time, hoping that it will make you bolder in asking, wiser in knocking and courageous in seeking…and give you confidence that your prayers will be answered.

 

Gale

 

 

Lord’s Prayer Translated from Aramaic

A Translation of "Our Father" directly from Aramaic into English

 

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration. Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.

 

 

 

Lord’s Prayer, from the Original Aramaic

Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz in Prayers of the Cosmos

 

O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos

Focus your light within us - make it useful.

Create your reign of unity now-

through our fiery hearts and willing hands

Help us love beyond our ideals

and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

Animate the earth within us: we then

feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

Untangle the knots within

so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Don't let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.

Out of you, the astonishing fire,

Returning light and sound to the cosmos.

Amen.

 

 

 

A New Zealand Prayer Book

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever.

Amen

 

El Libro de Oracion

Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo, santificado sea tu Nombre, venga tu reino, hágase tu voluntad,en la tierra como en el cielo.

Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Perdona nuestras ofensas,como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden.

No nos dejes caer en tentación y líbranos del mal.

Porque tuyo es el reino,
tuyo es el poder,
y tuya es la gloria,
ahora y por siempre.

Amén.

Last Published: July 30, 2013 12:57 PM