I enjoy reading paraphrases. I know they’re not literal translations and are subject to the writer’s own bias and interpretation.
That’s probably why I like them.
I see in them another’s perspective, a fresh look at something that has perhaps grown stale. In them I see how the original words have found a home in the life of the writer, new meanings, a fresh understanding, a new way of seeing–a re-vision.
I find that ‘re-visioning’ a well-known and well-loved (and often-repeated) passage of Scripture helps energise my spirit and refresh my thinking, drawing it to new ideas never before considered, or a new way of seeing truth.
This is The Lord’s Prayer that we use in every liturgy at St Columba College. It’s from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And 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.
Here are a few paraphrases of this same prayer which I have found helpful in my re-visioning.
I found this first paraphrase of The Lord’s Prayer this weekend in a daily Twitter prayer by The Virtual Abbey (@Virtual_Abbey). It is the Casa del Sol Prayer of Jesus and can be found in one online context here.
Ground of all being,
Mother of life, Father of the universe,
Your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence,
may your longings be our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the human family today
and for the whole earth community.
Forgive us the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict
but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life, and the glory of life
are yours now and for ever.
Our Father, above us and all around us,
May your unspeakable Name be revered.
Here to earth, may your kingdom come.
Here on earth, may your will be done as it is in heaven.
Give us today our bread for today.
And forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who wrong us.
Lead us away from the time of trial.
But liberate us from the evil.
For the kingdom is yours and yours alone,
And the power is yours and yours alone,
And the glory is yours and yours alone.
Daddy in Paradise, Your character is good, marvellous, loving and pure. I want your Upside-down Kingdom to be seen and felt here in my neighbourhood as it is in your celestial community. I want your desires to be known and lived out in my city as in your New Jerusalem.
Please provide us with just enough food to satisfy us for today and maybe a little extra to give to our neighbours in need.
Forgive us for seeing needs and not meeting them especially when we are spending our time judging others, and help us forgive when we are hurt, disappointed, and accosted.
Pull us out of harm’s way when sin comes looking for us or when we go searching for sin. Set us free as you snatch us out of the hands of our cruel enemy.
Here’s a final one. I love the use of the phrase ‘Beloved Community’ to refer to the kingdom. (Both this and the previous one are located in their original context here.)
Our Beloved Friend, who is outside the system,
may your holy name be honored by the way we live our lives.
Your Beloved Community come,
your way be done
inside the system
as it is outside the system.
Give us this day everything we need,
forgive us our wrongs,
as we forgive those who have wronged us.
Do not bring us into hard testing,
but keep us safe from the evil one.
For thine is the Beloved Community,
the power, and glory,
forever and ever.
May these be a source of blessing and further meditation on what it is Jesus is saying in this prayer which he taught his disciples to pray.
And maybe it will inspire you to write your own paraphrase, using words and phrases that are meaningful to you and that come from the context of your own community.
(Why not post it as a comment below? It would be great to be able see this prayer through your eyes and from the perspective of your journey.)