Reflection from Pastor Julia...
Have you seen the news that Pope Francis, in a TV interview, suggested that the Lord’s Prayer we say in worship could use an update? He said that lead us not into temptation was “not a good translation” from ancient texts. He said a better alternative might be Do not let us fall into temptation, because God does not lead people into temptation: Satan does.
After a bit of biblical commentary review, here are my thoughts on Pope Francis’ suggestions: (1) Linguistically—that is, as far as translating Greek into English goes—“lead us” (or “bring us”) is, in fact, a solid translation; (2) Theologically—that is, as far as conveying a picture of the Almighty that is fairly consistent with the biblical witness as a whole—it is quite problematic. So here I would agree with Pope Francis: the passage is not very helpful for the day-to-day life of a believer. It has, in fact, troubled believers for centuries. (3) The Bible offers plenty of testimony that God allows, but does not cause temptation. See James 1:13-14, for instance: “No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire…”
On the subject of updating prayers, let’s note that few churches (including Roman Catholics and Presbyterians) say the Lord’s Prayer exactly as it is given in Matthew 6. So when it comes to worship, we are already making choices to encourage daily faithfulness. You also may be interested to know that we already have an alternative version of the Lord’s Prayer available to us, which draws from the version of the Prayer found in the Gospel of Luke. It’s on page 11 of our Glory to God hymnal and goes like this:
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen."
Much more could be said, but I’ll stop here. Prayer is meant to draw us close to God, to line our hearts up with God’s own heart and will. I’m wondering, how does the Lord’s Prayer help you to do that? Share your response here, or send a private message. And God bless you.