Conversations with Poppi: The Lord’s Prayer

Poppi: Okay. “Our Father …”

Solveig: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

P: What does that mean?

S: Does it mean, “Thy name is worshiped?”

P: It means, “Holy be thy name.”

S: “Thy kingdom come …”

P: Now, what does that mean?

S: Does it mean—sort of like—your kingdom in heaven …

P: That’s part of it, but there’s a more important other part.  It goes way back into the Old Testament. God promised that his kingdom would come not just in heaven but that the whole universe would get to be exactly as God wanted it to be.

S: Okay. So, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” You want your will to be done …

P: Those three petitions more or less mean the same thing.

S: So that what happens on earth should be like it is in heaven.

P: And when that happens, that will be the kingdom of God.

S: Sure.

P: And then God’s name will be hallowed.

S: Give us this day our daily bread.

P: That’s a different kind of petition.

S: Yes. Our daily bread would be Jesus’s body.

P: You think it’s the Lord’s Supper?

S: It could be.

P: It could be. Yes. It probably isn’t, but there are lots of scholars who have thought that it might be.  Do you know why? Because the word that we translate “daily” in Greek is epiousion, and nobody actually knows what that word means.  “Daily bread” is just a guess, and another guess is “special bread.” We don’t know which of those two it is—our daily bread—breakfast, dinner, and supper—or the special bread of the Lord’s Supper.

S: I think it’s the Lord’s Supper because … Except do you think Jesus could know? When did he teach this prayer? Did he teach it at the Lord’s Supper?

P: No.

S: How would he have known that he was to be crucified?

P: Well, he was a prophet, and that’s one thing that prophets do.

S: All right. It could be that. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …” That’s actually not true—well, you don’t always forgive people.

P: Do you think you’ll get forgiven if you don’t forgive?

S: Maybe.

P: That’s risking it.

S: See, if they don’t know that you don’t forgive them …

P: The point is not that if I don’t forgive you, you won’t forgive me. The point is that if I don’t forgive you, God won’t forgive me.  See, the prayer is to God—“Forgive us our sins as we forgive other people.”

S: I forgive lots of things, but I don’t forgive every single thing.

P: Well, you should.  It’s very dangerous, not just with God but with ourselves. Sins against us that we don’t forgive sit in our souls and just sort of rot there.

S: I forgive most things.  It’s only one or two things.

P: What are the one or two things you don’t?

S: I can’t say it, but you know what I mean.

P: You have to forgive that too.  I have a very hard time doing it, but I have to try.

S: Yes. You have to try.

P: So do you.

Robert W. Jenson, Conversations with Poppi about God

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