11.8.09

This is lovely Bosco...

From Bosco Peters:

Eternal Spirit, Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-Giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be.
Mother and Father 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 forever. Amen.

Night Prayer - NZ Liturgy

Prompted because my daughter asked me yesterday (she's only 4)'Why is God a Father?' and 'Why is he not a mother?' and 'Are Fathers more important than mothers, then?' And 'Who is our mother then and why haven't we got a mother?'.

Wow - deep for only 55 months on this planet.

I told her 'Jesus' mother was Mary and so that's why God is his Father'. And I said 'but our Father-God is like a mother to us too'. And I explained how God made both mothers and fathers equal and blessed in his sight.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would take a long time - but it would not be difficult- to deconstruct this "prayer" and show that it is really post-Christian modern syncretism. God isn't our mother, and was never called so by Jesus, who knows best. Lots of pagans in the Greco-Roman world would pray to the Magna Mater. But not Christians and Jews. Goddess worship has no part of Christian prayer.
But this line is really egregious:
"The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!"
Does the author know what 'hallow' means? It has nothing to do with making some kind of sound that will 'echo'.
This confusion over the meaning of 'hallow' is not new to New Zealand Anglicans. Many years ago the Lord's Prayer in their liturgy had the line 'HOLY be your name'; presumably the liturgist then thought 'holy' and 'hallowed' were synonyms.

Anonymous said...

... and a Kingdom is NOT a commonwealth!
A 'commonwealth' means 'what belongs to everyone'. A kingdom is a realm subject to a King.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Interesting anon - shame I don't know you by name. Identity is sacred wouldn't you agree? Your name is important but anyway I take on board what you say because did you notice that I didn't tell my daughter that God could be mother? He is Father and indeed the Holy word and the living Word bear testimony to this.

I think that although you have seen syncretic elements here, Bosco Peters would never intend to corrupt our understanding of the way. He is an orthodox follower of Jesus. Charges of syncretism can be overly disparaging, we have to look at the intentions of the author and he would not want to distort the faith.

For some people, whatever we know to be the truth, thoughts of God which are not overtly bound up with overly anthropomorphic notions of the father can be helpful if their own experiences of earthly fathers is not a positive one.

Anyway, that's another area for discussion.
Thanks for the contribution.
I am enjoying you dropping by. I think you are the anon who now comments frequently if you are just one person - there could be a few anons. Maybe you could call yourself 'anonymous 1' or something - that would be helpful.
Blessings Rachel

Rachel Marszalek said...

Pedantic but true about commonwealth Anon.
No wonder it takes me more than two hours to write the intercessions - our words are very important.
X

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rachel (and through you, Anonymous)

The prayer you have cited comes from the authorized, official prayer book of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. While the prayer (along with some others) has been subject many times to the "it's syncretistic" critique, the fact is that our church in all its diversity, including conservative evangelicals, has approved this prayer book through its General Synod and synods according to our constitution.
I think a key to understanding it as a non-syncretistic prayer is to understand this prayer as a prayer modeled on and influenced by the Lord's Prayer, but not as a direct translation of the Lord's Prayer (or Prayers if we think of making an offering in an amalgamated form in English of the Matthean and Lukan versions).

Thus, to take just one matter, "Mother and Father of us all", if God is the One who both creates us and nurtures us, in whom is the source of all that is good, including the life-giving roles of motherhood and fatherhood, it is appropriate to declare that God is "Mother and Father of us all". (If motherhood does not come from God, where does it come from?!).

PS these comments are offered not in order to have a long argument about the prayer through comments to this post - no time for that this week! - but to make the small point that there is a "non-syncretistic" reading of this prayer available to those inclined to affirm the orthodoxy of the NZ Anglican church.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Thank you for your contribution, Peter. i didn't realise that the prayer had been approved by NZ Gen Synod. My Anon contributor felt it too syncretistic. As with all things, there is a middle way and whilst I take on board some of anon's points, we need always to read intention and take care not to charge each other with being unorthodox.

Thanks for stopping by
Blessings
Rachel

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