Our father: A subversive passage

Part one of the Lord’s Prayer series

Image: Steve Halama

It’s super easy to look at ancient prayers, poems, stories, and texts and slap an ‘outdated’ label on them.

Well… Yeah, it’s outdated. It was written THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO.

I’ve surely done this and you may have too. But I’m afraid that by doing this — by discarding these snapshots into human consciousness as outmoded — we miss the point and rob ourselves, spiritually.

Right now, in my ministerial coursework, we’re breaking down the Lord’s Prayer into seven parts:

(1) Our father
(2) Who art in Heaven
(3) Hallowed be thy name
(4) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
(5) Give us this day, our daily bread
(6) Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
(7) Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

So, I’ll chronicle my studies in a 7-part series every Thursday starting with this one: Our father. I hope you’ll join me. Whether you consider yourself spiritual, religious, etc., or not, I think you’ll get something of value from it.

Alrighty… Our Father.

In our modern time, this line gets a bad rap.

First of all, who says God is a male? Like, a dude? Does God have a penis? And a belly button (then how is he God if someone else gave birth to him, oooooh)?

No, no, no… Missing the point.

When this poem was written, in that part of the world, God came in the form of a knock on your door followed by a literal boot to your neck. Caesar was God. God’s wrath was a compulsory, military force. Which could have been fine for you, depending on whose side you were on.

And then Jesus comes out with this line… 
Our Father.

In two words, he transforms God from a bloodthirsty warlord into a loving father figure (yes, I know, there are a lot of asshole dads out there — again, missing the point; bring it on back). This blew people away back then. People were publicly executed for saying this kind of thing.

Now we take the word ‘Our’, which points to the fact that this God is ‘ours’. I know… Today, not a big deal. But back then, HUGE.

Back then, God was only for those who claimed patronage (and paid taxes) to Caesar. Now, Jesus eludes to the idea that God is a loving fatherly Presence to all.

There we are. Just a start. Two words that represented a huge, subversive, anarchist, punk rock paradigm shift for the world in the time they were spoken.


Jonas writes short stories and preachments about spiritual, whimsical, creative matters on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing here.