Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Could we have a female York and change the Lord's Prayer?

Under no circumstances should anyone join the Anglican church in order to be in an unchanging church! (I know, I know, lots of aspects of Anglican churches seem unchanging ...).

On the one hand, today we learn that the present ABY will retire in June 2020 and immediately see strong arguments emerging that the next ABY will be female: here.

On the other hand, might we be saying the Lord's Prayer, that staple of all Anglican services, wrongly? See here.

Anyone for a sweepstake on York?
Might we change the Lord's Prayer?


Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,

If the next ++Bishop of York is female and she says you white, privileged male Bishops have abusing woman by making them talk about "OUR FATHER"; then you must believe her.CNN will tell you so.

Bryden Black said...

Some time ago Peter you refereed to Brant Pitre’s Jesus and the Last Supper. As you’d know, he has a chapter re “The New Manna”, which places the Lord’s Prayer within an explicitly first century Jewish context with its strong eschatological flavour. This eschaton furthermore views Yahweh as undertaking a “New Exodus.” This then impacts the interpretation of each of the six petitions, particularly the very first. In fact, the first ceases to be a mere exhortation for God to be generally honoured as such. Instead, it takes its cue from the driving force that would see Yahweh specifically “hallow his Name” as Ezekiel foretold in the following way (36:22–28):

Say to the House of Israel: Thus said the Lord God: Not for your sake will I act, O House of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have caused to be profaned among the nations to which you have come. I will sanctify My great name which has been profaned among the nations—among whom you have caused it to be profaned. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord—declares the Lord God—when I manifest My holiness before their eyes through you. I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your fetishes. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules. Then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people and I will be your God.

Here we have language which invokes the “land”, a “new covenant”, and so another, “new exodus”, all specifically resulting in “hallowing/sanctifying/making holy God’s name”, and this through Israel. Nor does this famous new covenant passage stand alone. The very next chapter of Ezekiel, 37:11–14, continues:

And He said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.’ Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel. You shall know, O My people, that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and lifted you out of your graves. I will put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil. Then you shall know that I the Lord have spoken and have acted”—declares the Lord.

Bryden Black said...

Once more the language is powerfully evocative—“you shall know I am Yahweh”—with the reviving of God’s people explicitly once more in “the land of Israel,” which is their “own soil.” And so the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer, from the lips of Jesus the first century Jew, directs us towards an eschatological reading, one which renews key OT motifs of covenant and exodus. Yet there is more to be said in this respect.

The very form of address at the start of the prayer, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt 6:9), or simply “Father” (Luke 11:2), similarly invokes a prophetic vision of the future when God would decisively act to honor his Name. Both Isa 63:11–17 and Jer 3:16–19 have Yahweh addressed as “Our/My Father”, and furthermore, this appellation is in the context of invoking God to remember the exodus of old precisely to bring about a new exodus of the people into the land again. Nor are we quite done even now. Jer 3:17 speaks directly of “all the nations” coming to Jerusalem, such is Yahweh’s decisive demonstration of his sovereignty. This echoes too Micah 4:1–8 (see too Isa 2:2–5), which climaxes with an explicit reference to “dominion/sovereignty” returning to Zion (v. 8), the content of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

One final feature is worth noting here, with the centre of Luke’s prayer being concerned with “bread”. For how might the setting of a “new exodus” shed light upon the otherwise problematic exegesis of this bread as ἐπιούσιος (epiousios: both Luke 11:3 and Matt 6:11). As Brant Pitre elaborates, the meaning of the request to “give us each day (Matthew)/this day (Luke) our epiousios bread” has been hotly debated down the centuries. For all that, situating it firmly in the context of Exod 16 and the manna from heaven sheds direct light upon this conundrum. If indeed we read the Lord’s Prayer, and this petition in particular, from the point of view of the primordial hope for a new exodus, “then the petition for the [new, eschatological] manna of the kingdom of God stands at the very center of Jesus’ and his disciples’ hopes for the future.” (emphasis original) And finally, just as the exodus of old was beset with trials and temptations of its own, so too especially will the near–future arrival of the fulfilment of God’s final promises have their attendant evils, delivery from which Christians must surely pray. Once again, the bold eschatological colouring adds meaning to all the petitions.

[copied with some slight edits from the revised edition of The Lion, the Dove, & the Lamb]

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Bryden!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
No, I am not publishing a comment you recently submitted here.
It included a phrase I cannot except despite the remainder of its content being fine.

Father Ron Smith said...

I think it would be a mistake to remove the word "Father" from the liturgical use of the Lord's Prayer. How far could we go with that sort of translational philosophy? What would one substitute, for instance, for the word "Lord" in its title?

On the other hand, there are other places in the formal liturgy where a more representative word than that which describes all humanity as "man" (forgetting, apparently, that half of us are women) could well be substituted.

Regarding the gender of the next ABY; one would hope that the best person would be chosen - irrespective of their innate gender identity. This is where universal prayers for God's choice might resolve the problem.

Jonathan said...

Hallowed be your name
Come be your kingdom
Done be your will…

Sounds like he is talking about undoing a change already made! Will have to try it out!