Archive for the ‘Pater Noster’ Category

Rather than beginning our tour with the many different religious sites inside the Old City, we headed to the Mount of Olives on the other side.  According to the New Testament, the Mount of Olives is a place that Jesus used as a retreat from Jerusalem.  The area is a great place to get a view of the Old City from, and you can get also get a good view of the famous golden Dome of the Rock (the place where Muhammad is supposed to have ascended to heaven from). You can also see the Golden Gate — there is a Jewish tradition that it is the gate through which the Messiah will enter the city. It was sealed off during the reign of Suleiman the Great in the 16th century, supposedly to stop the Messiah entering the city. Don’t know if that will work.   But I’m rushing ahead.


Our Father

Our first stop was at the Pater Noster Church, on the Mount of Olives.   We entered the cave/church site which was first built by Helena mother of Constantine … she found 4 sites to preserve on the instruction of her son.  The others were – Church of the Holy Sepluchre, the Great Hagia Church on Mount Zion, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  But here at the site of the Pater Noster Church was where it was thought Jesus taught his disciples to pray – Our Father (Pater Noster).  The Lord’s Prayer is displayed on ceramic tiles in many languages (over 60) including Doric (dialect of Scots spoken in North East Scotland), in nearby colonnades and walls around gardens.  

I sometimes have mixed feelings about the Lord’s Prayer – well not the prayer itself, but the different versions that are said within our churches, and how people react to them.   Although I have to admit that when we come to the time when the whole church joins voices to recite the words, my first thought if I’m visiting a church is usually – “is it sin and sinning; debts and debtors; or trespasses and those who trespass against us?”   I’ve said all three in different churches I’ve belonged to, and each has said something different to me, but all have made me feel I am connecting not only with God, but also the people around me.   But no matter the version used, this prayer speaks to us on so many different levels and reminds us of amazing truths if we actually engage with it.   It begins simply – Our Father (Pater Noster) – reminding us we are part of a family and have an intimate relationship with God.    When Jesus taught his disciples this prayer he used the Aramaic word Abba – meaning Daddy – not elaborate descriptive words of God’s other characteristics, like Creator God, or Merciful God, or Lord, but a word of such intimacy and familiarity that it had the power to shock those who first heard it.   But those words – Our Father – also hold an invitation and a promise.  They tell us that the relationship that Jesus had with God, is also the relationship that we can have with him too; we are invited to be part of the family.  So the next time I say those two simple words – Our Father – perhaps I should linger on them a little longer, thinking of the deeper truths, promises and hopes that they contain.


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