Well the Pope has assumed his right to change the wording of the Lord’s prayer to better line up with Christian doctrine, albeit in the Italian language. The first ones to panic over his decision will be those who may be least affected, and those who share the same habits but no comparative influence.
What habits am I talking about? I would say the habit to re-write scripture according to our preferred doctrinal leaning. We may not wield the power to do it on the printing press or by changing church liturgies, but we all do it in our minds.
We desperately want God to fit into our already made up minds and behave accordingly. But God is not content to live exclusively in the mind, He desires to dwell within the full body. The evangelist will say that God wants to fill the empty space in your heart, yetthe real God inhabits more than an imaginary space, He fills the entire being: flesh, blood, bone, emotions, even the contradictions we have within ourselves.
Man is not walking around with an empty space inside him, man is the crowning peak on the creation made upon the formless void! Jesus said anyone who drinks from him will have rivers flow out of their innermost being! He wasn’t filling an empty container; He was activating fountains of a potential universe. Abundant life is impossible to compartmentalize.
There’s no empty space, just unbelief. God is relational with humanity (peace and goodwill to men!) and intimately relational with his covenant people. Why is this important? Because relational and emotional beings do things which surprise us and confuse us. No one knows your true and consistent character better than another human with whom you share a covenant relationship with.
Yet those same relations will experience and haveto come to terms with occasional seeming contradictions. There are times I contradict my usual character, yet there may be valid reasons and/or seasons for it. That doesn’t mean my nature has changed. It means I have experienced something which overrides my consistencies for a moment and makes me act unplanned and emotively.
Usually my wife will be first to experience a moment like this, she will also be the first to calm me down by reminding me of who I am and how I normally behave.
This insight shows why the friendship of God and Moses is so unique. Bible readers have the privilege of witnessing Moses argue with and even calm God down with similar methods of familiarity. The conversations of these two friends show how testing and tempting the wilderness was to all involved, including God.
t this point some readers theology radar may be beeping and remembering the words of James the apostle, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt any man.” If your siren sounded, congratulations, you are endorsing the pope’s changes to the Lord’s prayer.
The Pope believes in the change because he cannot accept the phrase “Do not lead us into temptation.” Because, God, as Christianity affirms, does not purposely tempt people. Now I’m no expert on Greek or Hebrew, but do we really need to censor Jesus and the text after all these years? Besides the fact that the God of the Bible is far more surprising to us than we are ready to admit, the context of Jesus’s prayer tells me that no change is necessary.
I believe the statement, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (or the evil one). Has its context in the Exodus story and also Jesus’s own experience in the wilderness. The book of Hebrews refers to Israel’s wilderness journey as,‘the day of trial’ and‘the day of temptation’. Jesus was also driven by the spirit into the wilderness to be amongst the wild beasts (demonic entities likely) and be tempted by the devil himself.
Essentially Jesus was teaching his disciples to ask God to not let them experience the traumaboth He and Israel went through in the wilderness, (sorry to all the fans of forty day fasts out there). So severe were the temptations and trials to all involved, we are advised to pray against being put through a wilderness situation at all.
Giving context to my line of reasoning, in the same breathJesus wants our deliverance from Pharaohs andSatan’s, Egypt and systems of enslavement including all metaphorical and contemporary parallels. In other words,‘Deliver us from Egypt and take us straight across the Jordan!’
Why? “For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen.” Why spend another moment in the wilderness when the Kingdom of God is come! I imagine God doesn’t feel tempted to change ourLord’s prayer, nor Has he tempted the Pope too. I think the pontiffmoved upon his temptation to do what he wanted to do, much like me and you often do. Maybe we should change ourselves first.
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing.
Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing. He has also written a book, now available for purchase on Amazon called: “Your Father sees: Living the sermon on the mount”.Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html