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are transgressors to be forgiven by God and our transgressors are to be forgiven by us. In this prayer where Jesus teaches


Whose will should we follow? As in the previous petition, when


we pray that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven, we again acknowl- edge our obedience to the divine authority. The acknowledging of the desire that God’s will be done on earth where we are implies, by contrast, that our will isn’t the one to govern our lives on earth: “Your will be done.” Jesus teaches us to pray acknowledging that God’s will is to be supreme over our human will.


In the second part of the prayer,


Jesus teaches us to pray for divine intervention so we can indeed live God’s will for us.


That all of God’s creation live as God wills. When we pray for “our daily


bread,” we are reminded that being able to be sustained by the bread of creation every day is God’s will for us all. Life is to be sustained accord- ing to God’s design. The implications of justice and fairness for all and our responsibility for the care of creation that sustains life is at the heart of this petition. “Our” stands in contrast to “my,” and “bread” for food, dignity, and all that we need to live as true children of God and as brothers and sisters among ourselves. Jesus teaches us to pray for God to


take away the obstacles that are put in the way of life for all. We would not


‘Our’ stands in contrast to ‘my,’ and ‘bread’ for food, dignity, and all that we need to live as


true children of God and as brothers and sisters among ourselves.


need to pray for what God intends if there weren’t hungry and forgotten children and adults across the world or across town. Now that we are even killing creation itself, that which is designed to feed us all, the prayer of Jesus connotes also our relationship of life with the earth.


Jesus teaches us to acknowledge our self-centeredness and repent from not following God’s will. This petition parallels God’s for-


giveness with our forgiveness of others. God’s forgiveness does not depend on our forgiveness of others. God’s forgiveness flows from God’s free grace. This plea reminds us of our relationship to others, to our place in the human family and creation. The prayer reminds us that God is a God of forgiveness even when we fail to act under God’s authority and we don’t follow God’s will. Our forgiveness of others is


assumed. Jesus reminds us ever so subtly that that is also God’s will. We


us to acknowledge the supremacy of God’s will for us, rather than our own will, sins would be the instances of rejecting and ignoring God’s will for all. We sin when we are the obstacle for our brothers’ and sisters’ lives to be sustained by the bread that is for all. We ask God to forgive our greed and our indifference to the plea of others and the suffering of the earth. The mere act of asking for forgive-


ness implies acknowledgement and repentance. As we ask for God’s for- giveness for our transgressions, we acknowledge and repent of our indif- ferent or greedy ways.


Jesus encourages us to ask for strength to follow God’s will. In the final two petitions, Jesus


teaches us to pray for strength to fol- low God’s will as we pray to be saved from trials and to be delivered from evil. We pray to be spared the trials and temptations that would keep us from following God’s will as well as to be freed from the evil consequences of being trapped in our own. Given our tendencies for ignoring


others’ needs, Jesus teaches us to pray to be spared from the sinful instinct of self-centeredness and from our own insistence that our own will be done. 


Author bios: Vargas is associate professor of multicultural and contextual studies, and interim dean of California Lutheran University’s Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif.


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