Vater unser im Himmel,
geheiligt werde dein Name;
dein Reich komme;
dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern;
und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.
Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft
und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.
I find myself in the awkward position of taking a theological German class over the summer not knowing if I can even finish my program. My assignment is to memorize "Our Father" in German and it has given me yet another opportunity to think about life and theology. I am not a huge fan of Moltmann, but I think he was right in saying we are all theologians. Human beings are religious creatures and we all interpret our world--and I think we all interpret it theologically whether atheist, someone who goes to church occasionally or whether we do it professionally. Is God near us? Looking from a distance? Absent? Or is he everywhere present, his presence filling the world? If so then why is this world the world as it is? All of this to say that I think theology is most powerful when it connects with life as we know it and we make this connection consciously. We can allow new information and new experiences to shape our theology or world outlook while most importantly allowing God's Word through the Spirit to enter into our situation and meet us wherever we are and form us.
I like the "Our Father" prayer because it is so simple. There is both a sense of nearness and distance in it. God is our "father" but who is in heaven. We are waiting for his kingdom (of justice, life, peace and prosperity), but we are waiting. We are waiting for this world to be manifested as his world. In our waiting we ask him for the what we need to live alongside his priorities--bread to eat, the ability to forgive as we receive God's forgiveness and deliverance from the evil one.
Sometimes we just live in a tension between two worlds.
I'm told I am difficult to pray for sometimes. Someone asked me if I believed I was entitled to what I needed to flourish in life because I was a child of God. I said I did but that I could nonetheless die of starvation, disease or any number of things. Maybe more to the point, I am not someone who is hopeful God will resolve all of my problems and yet I know he cares about the little things too. I know of a family that served in the church for many years and got betrayed in the worst way by the dad's own father and then by the church that promised to take them under their wing but instead took their time and money. I also know that he does get people out of harsh circumstances almost miraculously.
However, sometimes we are just stuck and all we can do is pray for bread.