Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lead Us Not into Temptation

Our Lord’s Prayer is something all Christians have in common. In Germany Catholics and Protestants pray the same text, „und führe uns nicht in Versuchung“ (and lead us not into temptation).

Already as a kid, I felt uneasy, "How is it possible that Our Father in Heaven leads us into temptation?" Year in, year out I am saying the same text in German, English, and French, in Catholic messes, Protestant services, at funerals, and baptisms almost mechanically but I am still hesitating when it comes to, „and lead us not into temptation.“

A better translation into modern Lower German?
"Let us not come off your law and make us free from all that hurts us."(©Wikipedia)
This is why I was electrified by Pope Francis‘s praise for the French bishops when they changed the text „Ne nous soumets pas à la tentation“ into „Et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation“ (And let us not fall into temptation).

Francis’s argumentation goes like this, „God does not tempt you. The Lord only tries you with good gifts to draw you to Himself. You misinterpret the words when you think that God is leading you to a temptation, to try you. No. The gracious Father in heaven admits evil, but he does not create it. He is the good, from which all goodness springs forth. But there is evil. It exists since the moment Lucifer rose up against God. It is up to you to make good out of evil by defeating it and asking the divine Father for the power to defeat it.

I am the one that falls, but it is not Him who leads me into temptation. A father does not do such a thing. A father helps you to get up again. The one who leads you in temptation is Satan.

What a Protestant view! Luther would have been delighted for he was obsessed by Satan. Whenever something went wrong in his reformatory drive it was the devil himself who was fighting him. The revolting farmers had Satan in them and the obstinate Jews were young devils and therefore condemned.

So finally from now on, we will pray the Lord, “make that we do not fall into temptation and deliver us from evil. Amen.“

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