The Lord’s Prayer.
Prayer made headlines in the past week. An advertisement for the Lord’s Prayer to be played in cinemas was denied. Reasons given included it might offend people who are not Christians, or sympathetic to the Christian Faith.
Predictably, a furore arose because the cinema’s fear of offending was doing just that. It was also breaking anti-discrimination laws. Some other religious bodies and an Atheist organisation supported the Church of England’s right to have it screened.
That is great for Freedom of speech and freedom of Religion. What was shown up in all this was the stupidity of Political Correctness. It also unmasks the subtle changes taking place to isolate Christ, the Church and weaken our Christian heritage. This can be seen in the demeaning of Christmas by certain intolerant Imams, weak city councils and indifferent politicians.
As I thought about the cinema’s reaction to the Lord’s Prayer advertisement they had a point. This finely crafted prayer, loved by many, is subversive, exclusive, prophetic and challenging. This should be a reason for not showing it, but it does say something about the human heart. Within all of us there is an awareness we all have to meet the Lord God, Creator and judge one day. There is either a fear or a joy in this prospect.
This prayer points to a future event as well as God’s expectation of us and ours of Him. Jesus gave this Rabbinic styled prayer to His disciples. It is therefore Jewish in nature and builds on what the prophets of Israel foretold. The Christian Church has claimed it for its own, as it has the right to do, without forgetting the original presentation and environment.
How is it subversive? Because it talks about ‘Our Father!’
We often forget that God is creator of us all, but He is the Father of the nation of Israel (Isaiah 64:8).
The Church is the creation of Christ through His death on the cross and resurrection. He is our Head and Lord.
Jesus didn’t have to prayer ‘our Father!’ Jesus is the Son, eternal, unique and the One who reveals the Father. (John 14:6-13. 10:30.) It is this very fact that upsets Islam. They call Jesus a liar when they say ‘God has no Son!’ However, they are correct when they say ‘Allah’ has no son – for he isn’t the eternal God of creation, redemption and Love.
It is prophetic because it points to a time when the Son of God sets up the promised Kingdom and rules the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2 and Zechariah 14. Etc). This kingdom is not wanted, except by those who belong to Christ. It is opposed by a counterfeit caliphate which is doing everything in its power to prevent its coming.
It is challenging because of its implied and explicit demands. The requirement to forgive can be very difficult, yet it holds within it the wonder of grace, liberty and and inner healing.
The Lord’s Prayer is exclusive. To be able to say “our Father” means a person has been spiritually born through His power. This comes about by a personal faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the promised Saviour who was crucified, entombed and rose again on the third day (John 3. Romans 10).
Maybe, just maybe, unseen forces were at play endeavouring to prevent this well known, well-loved prayer being shown. Behind political correctness and other anti-Christian actions lies the power of Darkness.
However, John1:1-5 tells us about Jesus coming into this World and being the Light of the Word. Verse 5 reminds us of ultimate victory: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not (will not, cannot) overcome it.”
Nov 29th 2015.