from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989)
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that us evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
Today is Trinity Sunday, following closely on the heels of Pentecost, and these holy days have me thinking a lot about church unity—the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” I profess to be a part of. A symbol of this for me is the Lord’s Prayer, the Paternoster. Now, there are tripping points in its recitation—will this group be using “old” or “new” words? Trespasses, debts, or sins?—but for the most part, this Christ-taught prayer appears in remarkably similar form in the religious vocabulary of Calvinists, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Catholics alike. There’s a great beauty in that.
There’s also beauty in finding refreshing and intriguing ways to approach words that have become rote, which is why I love the alternative to the Lord’s Prayer included in the prayer book of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. In making strange the familiar, this prayer invigorates a rich tradition.
Alissa Goudswaard lives in Lafayette, Indiana, where she is completing her MA in rhetoric and composition, baking all the cupcakes, and attempting to teach herself guitar. Find this Calvin-grad-turned-stark-raving-Episcopalian online at episcotheque.wordpress.com and on Twitter as @episcotheque.