Perhaps the most beloved, and certainly the most often repeated, prayer in our worship is the Lord’s Prayer. At St. Dunstan’s Church we continue to use the traditional translation that comes from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. Throughout Lent we will be singing the Lord’s Prayer. This beautiful setting was composed by Bobby McFerrin and uses the contemporary translation of the Lord’s Prayer.
Singing the Lord’s Prayer is one of the ways our worship is set apart and special during this season of Lent. The Lord’s Prayer stands as the most honored and important prayer we share, largely because we received it from Jesus himself. Versions of this prayer appear in both Matthew and Luke. We say, or sing, the prayer after the Eucharistic prayer and before the breaking of the bread. This is the high point, the climax, of the entire worship service.
And yet, as beloved and important as this prayer is, we run the risk of losing the meaning and significance through rote repetition. Every once in a while, it serves us to stop and consider the meaning of this beautiful prayer. One of the ways we can do that is by singing the prayer. Somehow, our brains engage the words differently when we sing them. We can notice them again, and draw new meaning from them.
The McFerrin tune we are singing was written using the contemporary translation introduced in the 1979 revision of our Book of Common Prayer. Since its introduction 37 years ago, many churches have started using this version. At the same time, there are many who are so comforted by the familiarity of the 1789 translation that any change feels like a loss. I understand and sympathize. I pray that as we sing the Lord’s Prayer this season of Lent, we will hear the words with new depth and significance.
Yours in Christ,