To substantiate my claim I need to provide a text and I will now do so, using the version of the Lord’s Prayer that I turned into verse so it could be sung or chanted silently or not as one wishes. It does not differ substantially from most versions except at the end where it acknowledges Abba’s power to heal and mend which amounts to both an affirmation and an intercession.
Abba whose home in heaven is
Hallowed and holy is your name
Let your realm come your will be done
Till earth and heaven are the same
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive the wrongs that we have done
As we forgive those who do wrong
Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil Lord
And safely guide us to your shore
Yours is the power to heal and mend
Yours is the glory evermore
Now that you have the text, let me explain why it is revolutionary and universal and therefore perhaps the most important text in the world.
First, it declares the one value that underlies all other values because it contains the essence of philosophy and is the basis for adhering to other values.
By addressing Abba we are addressing the One who is within all people, Abba is also the One who told Moses that he would give him no answer to the question of what his name was save “I am who I am and I will be who I will be”. This is the basis of the First Commandment – of non-idolatry, of having no other gods save this One as the object of your allegiance. This is the One Jesus called Abba – a gift to us beyond compare.
By stating that Abba’s home is heaven, the prayer is stating that because Abba is in everyone, no one is without a portion of heaven within them. But it is also saying that heaven is a place. It is in fact the model for what Abba intends earth to become. What else can “on earth as in heaven” mean?
If all the world believed that there was a friendly inner power-reality that we can call Abba or any other name we might select, and that we see this Abba as the ground of our being, we would treat each other with more respect and we would have a proper humility. There would be no conflict between science and religion because both are experiential only and subject to the chance and change that is part of living in an evolutionary field of being.
By acknowledging that Abba has a will that is to be done on earth we have laid out the very basis for revolution, a revolution in values. This prayer says nothing of honor or courage. The only action that it commends (and demands) is forgiveness. The only ethic it implies is sharing and by implication justice.
When we do Abba’s will we turn to Jesus. Jesus is the one who indicated most clearly what Abba’s will is.
Jesus is in fact the revolutionary bearer of saving values.
These values can be stated as
Non-idolatry (having no other gods and forsaking the golden calves of the world)
Tolerance (not judging), helpfulness (treating all including oneself with a measure of love and respect) and
Democracy (understood as the extension of equality and human rights to all persons on this planet).
How can one say with confidence that these are the values implicit in this prayer?
Because the prayer is universal. It is intensely individual but each use of a pronoun in the prayer contains no I. It is a “we” prayer. Everything is us.
Including forgiveness. We forgive all who have done wrong. Daily. Why else to the words “this day” appear?
And most radically we are forgiven only as we are able to forgive all. The forgiveness of all daily creates the forgiveness of one daily!
We are to live day by day. We are to use this prayer daily. No matter who we are.
Now ask yourself why this needs to become the revolutionary prayer of all on this planet and why this is the most proper evangelism anyone could undertake.
Because this is the prayer Jesus enjoined his disciples to say. But, just as important, because it contains the entire universal objective and faith in these twelve pregnant lines.
We are to treat Abba as our intimate, our friend, our close relation. Abba means pop or dad in Aramaic. That was how Jesus spoke it.
We are to meditate on this prayer and speak it silently in our own space without fanfare or display every day.
As we do this we create global revolution in the direction of Abba’s way, tolerance, helpfulness, democracy and non-idolatry. There can be no greater calling than to spread these values throughout the world.
Jesus did not intend religion. He intended a way. It has taken us the hard lessons of 2000 years to achieve more than an inkling that this was and is his purpose and that it is universal.