07 March 2008

What a difference a translation makes

Saturday's presentation is ready. All the "stuff" I've found has been fascinating. Much too much for a 45-minute address. I am devoting considerable time to the petition in The Lord's Prayer -- forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, but cannot expand on other translations of those words given everything else I need to include and the time allowed.

But, how illuminating. We're used to the translation above. Sometimes the words debts/debtors replace trespass/trespasses. These translations following, however, are from Aramaic into English:
  • Loose the cords of mistakes binding us as we release the strands we hold over another's guilt.
  • Lighten the load of our secret debts as we relieve others of their need to repay.
  • Forgive our hidden pasts, our secret shames, as we forgive what others hide.

Makes our assumed self-righteousness less easy to accept, I think.

Of course, with today's news of the massacre in a Jerusalem seminary and the murder of UNC's student body president, Eve Carson, that petition -- no matter what the translation -- will challenge the depth of commitment for anyone who prays the prayer.

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