This blog concludes a series of reflections on the paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer found in the New Zealand Anglican Prayer Book service of Night Prayer.
This version of the Lord’s Prayer concludes:
“For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen.”
I have nothing against the well-known traditional words: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.”
The New Zealand paraphrase articulates a concept that was likely accepted and assumed by previous generations but that, I fear, isn’t known by many today – that ‘God is love’!
I greatly fear, no- I believe, that to many in our world the message that God is love has been substituted for the suggestion that God is harsh, eager to condemn, threatening, and that we must somehow work to earn God’s love. This is a tragic reality, and it is why many have turned away and/or not even experienced the Christian faith and Christ’s Church.
Love is the strongest power in all of creation.
The First Letter of John, particularly the 4th chapter, is a favorite of mine and contains several verses about love which we do well to preach and proclaim:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
19 We love because God first loved us.
This concluding phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is actually not in the Bible. It was added as a doxology to the words which Jesus taught, as a statement that God is love, God’s reign is of love, and that God’s love reigns eternally.
Lastly there is that wonderful word “Amen.” Amen means literally ‘let it be so’, and when we say “Amen” we are praying let all these words be so, let them be so with me, let them be so in my life.
I say “Amen” to that!
May it be so!
New Zealand Lord’s Prayer
Eternal Spirit, 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 is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.