In 2015 the church in England had an advertisement which featured the Lord’s Prayer set to run before a Star Wars movie. The cinemas banned the ad because they said it might be offensive to some.
In response Bishop Steven Croft wrote an article saying “from the perspective of the spirits of the age, there are very good reasons to ban the Lord’s Prayer from cinemas and culture and public life.”
Here are Bishop Croft’s reasons:
- “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” – It opposes the myth that we are random specks of matter floating through space and time….We are created and loved and called into friendship with God who is our father and into community with our fellow human being who are therefore our sisters and brothers.
- “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” – The world is not as it was meant to be. It is distorted from its true purpose. But God is at work to redeem and transform this world, to establish His kingdom. The Lord’s Prayer invites us not to retreat from the world in fear and pain, to anaesthetise or indulge ourselves. It invites us to join the struggle to see justice and peace prevail.
- “Give us this day our daily bread.” – This is not a prayer for more. This is a prayer for only what we need. It teaches contentment. This one restrains our greed.
- “Forgive us our sins.” – This teaches me to live with my imperfections and the imperfections of others. The Lord’s Prayer acknowledges human imperfection and sin, daily. It offers a pathway to forgiveness, daily. The way of forgiveness cannot be bought. It is a gift. Grace.
- “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” – We are not meant to live in feud or hostity or rivalry. We are meant to forgive and be forgiven, to be reconciled to each other.
- “Lead us not into temptation.” – When we say this prayer we remind ourselves that we are not living in a Disney fairy tale. We are living in a real world of cancer and violence and difficulty, where bad things happen for no clear reason. We live in that world confident in God’s love and goodness and help even in the most challenging moments of our lives. We may not have the answers but we know that God dwells with us and in us.
- “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.” – The prayer returns as it begins to the praise and glory of the living God. our hearts return to their origin and source, the one who created us. Our lives are to be lived to God’s praise and glory, not to satisfy our own small desires. We are beings with a higher calling and a greater purpose.
There are only 63 words in the Lord’s Prayer. It takes less than a minute to say them.
Yet these words shape our identity, give purpose to our lives, check our greed, reminds us of our imperfections, offer a way of reconciliation, built resience in our spirits and call us to live to the glory of our creator.
No wonder many want to ban them from our consumer culture.