"Our Father who art in heaven....."
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name ....."
....and on.... the prayer goes.
that's the only prayer recommended by Jesus
And who can query his temerity !
the only trinitarian,
we are told,
who walked this earth
knows first hand
how his father's mind ticks.
When I was much younger,
coming up inside Catholic,
I said that prayer
some reckless abandon :
particularly when hunger threatened .
"Give us this day our daily bread "
had a special ring and appeal.
I needed it said
outwit the forces of hunger
as often as they threatened.
So I'd believed.
When around age ten,
i dipped my hand
into my granny's pot
steal stewed meat
she was fast asleep,
it was that same line
give me courage for the thievery.
She was not asleep and the verse did not save me from due process.
When in my second form at high school,
along with other dare devils ,
I went during class break
raid a farm near the school
just to steal bananas,
i used same verse
steel my restive nerves.
We were caught :
one of us in the raid
had a deformed foot ( talipes or club foot)
couldn't outrun the guard .
He was arraigned
and he had convinced himself
he wasn't going to go down alone.
Rev fr cloutier, the school principal
not only beat the hell
each of the six of us,
he relayed the humiliating news
to our respective parents
I still remember
what black eye
when I reached home.
As i grew older however
... less impulsive
... more deliberate,
...i began to run away from the prayer,
not only because
it hadn't always saved the day
there were even more serious landmines
as one journeys through the prayer.
How jesus could have left no alternative prayers
still baffles me .
Our father or Pater Noster
a dangerous prayer.
Of this.... im convinced .
It is not meant for jokers.
But how easy is it
find non- jokers in these matters
When a man says
" thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven",
the only will that matters is his,
is he not conjuring a curse on himself?
what is even more frightening!!!
When a man
out of his own volition or group/herd pressure
" forgive us our sins"
as he reads along
"...as we forgive those who sin against us"
he has never forgiven
plans to forgive
able to forgive
willing to forgive ,
he is mocking the very prayer he mouths
and in the process
mocking the ear above the clouds
the prayer is addressed.
Hasn't he wasted his efforts and incurred wrath for his hypocrisy .
If you request of your boss,
to forgo your debt
cos you have forgone others'debt,
but turns out
you have actually
forgiven no one any debt,
the dishonesty involved
is itself punishable .
This is the way I see it
when I hear people reading the Lords prayer
I feel they are attracting a curse on themselves
without even knowing it.
Just visit a court of law any day!
See how both Christians and non Christians
'mouths and pockets'
wanting to secure punishment
has crossed their paths.
Yet just as easily,
they go running up the lord's prayer.
I find the unseriousness in the whole saga
It may be reason there is so much tumult around us .
Each time congregations go through the prayer,
it is tempting to think
they incur the wrath of the very god
they pray to
since the request made of Him
predicated on the obligation
promised by the supplicant.
But the supplicant
has no plans
discharging his own side of the bargain.
God must fume
people say the Lords prayer
seeing fully well
the annoying assymetry
the contractual obligations
forgive ...as we forgive.
so clearly implicit in the prayer.
recommending that prayer;
.... making one set of forgiveness
contingent on a prior one
being protective of his father
saving him from a barrage of hypocritical supplicants
since the verse
" forgive us as we forgive "
throws the contract full spin
back into the laps
really desires any intervention from his God.
When president Bush
claimed he is on God's side,
would rain bombs on those
who inflicted a run against his people,
when he should remember the lord's prayer and forgive,
the hypocrisy involved as self proclaimed Christian
too thinly veiled not to be obvious .
That particular clause in the prayer
is the reason
I've turned loath
saying the lord's prayer
since I'd rather not complicate matters
my human incapabilities in the area of forgiving.
I'm happy I find a hide out
in the rosary
no matter what critics have to say about it.
I would rather that
I cannot fulfil
or fulfil regularly enough .
When I see people accuse homosexuals,
i often have to think
are themselves sick
Why preach against one set of sins
(if sin it is)
when your own set of sins
run up your meter everyday .
Won't it be so much better
on your own sins
than play sanctimonious
I wish jesus had framed the clause by simply saying
" forgive us our Sins" ....full stop!
.... and ....not
put the landmine of
" as we forgive those who sinned against us"
As it stands,
the graveyard of many Christians.
And many don't even know it.
Basil Jide Fadipe. Justin Fadipe Centre. West Indies.