Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"Creator noster"

or One Word Really Does Make a Difference

The Confessing Reader has picked up on my prior entry, calling the prayer suggested for LWF Sunday "a parody of the Our Father." (Creator Noster is his blog-entry title, "because it is neither the Pater noster nor the Lord’s Prayer.")
The Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father, has from time to time suffered this sort of parodying, most such parodies directed at removing the offensive “Father” in the prayer’s address. If there be any truth at all in the dictum lex ordandi lex credendi, then it is particularly egregious that the Our Father, given to the Church by the Lord Jesus himself and in liturgical use by Christians probably since the time that the Gospel According to Matthew was written or redacted (given the addition of the concluding doxology that is not present in the Lucan text) and at least since the time that the Didache was written (which enjoins on Christians the thrice-daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer as a sort of embryonic daily office), has been so subjected.

As for this particular parody, there are elements that are essentially noncontroversial. Who indeed could disagree with praying God to grant us “courage to denounce what is wrong” or to “encourage us by[his] Word”? Who would dispute the assertion that “many needy people are seeking justice, truth and freedom”?

But this parody distorts, both by commission and omission, the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. In the place of Jesus’ invitation to his disciples to share the filial relationship he has with God the Father in prayer, the parody would have us pray to a more distant - if loving - Creator. The parody also asserts the same modalistic heresy that such faux-triniatarian ascriptions as “Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer” make, in limiting the creative power of God only to the Father, while the holy Scriptures and holy Tradition ascribe creation to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Go ahead, read the whole thing here, as Todd Granger offers critiques that I hadn't thought of -- because I saw no need to go past "Our Creator" in the first place. (Sometimes I can be short-sighted.)

He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."

And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."

Whereupon that disciple said, "Oh my, this will not do. Is there someone who can teach us better?"

And a scribe called Ishmael replied, "Here is a prayer a group of my students crafted...."

(With apologies to the dear and glorious physician, St. Luke the Evangelist.)

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