Lent With the Lord's Prayer
And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. NRSVAs you know I have been struggling with this section of the prayer. I thought I would try looking at alternate translations to see if that would help. While I like that Petersen believes that prayer is asking God to keep us safe rather than leading us, I know the translation does not reflect the intent. So I thought I would turn to John Dominic Crossen, in his new book, The Greatest Prayer, to see if he could help me out. He says that Evil One is a correct translation of satan, a Hebrew word meaning adversary. He then makes this leap to say that the main action of the adversary biblically is to “lure us into the escalatory violence required to obtain the power and glory of all the kingdoms of the earth” (p. 174). This is the last temptation offered Jesus in his wilderness temptation, power. He argues what we are asking is not to be led into the temptation of violence done in the name of God. I don’t know if I buy his argument. Although I like shifting the focus to the violence we are led to in the name of religion. This explanation requires a lot of extrapolation.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. The Message Matthew 6:13
I have always had trouble believing in a devil, a satan. I know that there is evil and great evil that humans commit against each others. We see it in the news every day, from the local murders, the discovery of serial killers, to the government violence in the Ivory Coast, to the riots in Afghanistan, but I don’t think it is right to say this is the evil one acting. That takes away human responsibility for atrocious acts. As I don’t believe God made these happen, I don’t believe an evil one cause the reverse bad to happen.
How can we turn this line into a prayer practice this lent. Today try this prayer by Wayne Muller:
Deliver us from the temptation to feel crushed under the weight of what we have been given. Deliver us from the complete disbelief in anything good, whole, or sacred. Deliver us from that time when, at the end of the day, we can no longer pray.