The Lord’s Prayer Revisited by the Old Fool

What we call the Lord’s Prayer is in Matthew 6.  The Old Fool is not a student of the original Greek language, but he is aware of a unique aspect of the old English used in the King James Version of the Bible. Sprinkled throughout the first part of that chapter are  the archaic thy and thou which are second person singular pronouns in the old English. The prayer begins with a dramatic change of pronoun.

Our

The first person plural pronoun “our”of the old English is the first word of the prayer. To the Old Fool  “our” collects human family and need into one. Peace is as simple as that.

Father

The father to whom we pray is the originator of everyone and the transmitter of everything. Our father animates and infuses all with the same adventurous, creative and loving spirit that he is. The English language demands a gender-specific pronoun, but the Old Fool believes that our perfect father has all the tender, loving and faithful qualities of a virtuous woman.

Who art in heaven

Heaven is way up there, but for the Old Fool heaven is way down here, too.  The psalmist could not escape God, not even in the grave. Peace is as simple as that

Hallowed be thy name

When religion suppresses, oppresses and deprives ordinary people and when armies kill in God’s name, God’s name is stigmatized. This prayer will be answered when no one does evil in the name of the father. Peace is as simple as that.

Thy Kingdom come

The coming of the Kingdom is good news because the poor will have enough of everything, because prisoners will be trained in productive skills and sent home to their families and friends. The ignorant will know and understand. Those plagued by worry will be freed by hope. Conversion is possible, and it will happen.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

The Father wills that the earth be populated with people who love him, love each other, and love the earth and the beings that inhabit it. Peace on earth is as simple as that.

Give us this day our daily bread

Through fertile soil, sunshine, and rain the Father supplies daily bread for everyone. The Old Fool believes our Father relies on people to distribute what is already on earth so that there are no more hunger cries. Peace on earth is as simple as that.

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we enjoy, and life itself is a debt we cannot pay. So we pray, forgive us as we forgive the debts owed to us. The world’s peoples and nations are burdened by massive debts. All debts must be forgiven. The economic system will be overturned. The Old Fool believes that the necessities of life and health will be available without money and without price. Peace through forgiveness of debts is within our reach.

Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil

Our Father does not tempt to do harm. The Old Fool believes that when all peoples do the will of the Father on earth and in heaven there be will such abundance of available good that the people will be tempted by abundance to the evil of excessive good. From that evil we must be delivered.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.

The Old Fool relies on the King James Version’s use of the pronouns of the old English. However, almost all of the most recent translations note that this last line of the prayer is not a part of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Therefore, the Old Fool feels free to suggest that the Father’s people will find their power and glory when the prayer becomes more than vain repetition, and takes on the transformation and conversion of society by bold deeds and cross bearing.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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