As a child I remember being afraid of starting into the first grade of school. I had attended Kindergarten but that was mostly coloring and play, learning to get along with others. Now I was going to have to learn to read, write, and “do numbers.” Mom took me the first day, of course, then she LEFT me there with all the people I didn’t know and a strange lady who was going to be the teacher! It was scary!
Mrs. Rowe told us her name then called all our names and told us where to sit. She started the day by having us stand up and recite the Lord’s Prayer, which I had learned at Sunday school and was comforting because it was familiar.
While still standing we were told to put our right hands over our hearts and pledge the flag. This was prior to the addition of the phrase “under God” that occurred June 14th, 1954. Finally we were told we could sit down.
The alphabet was on the black board across the top and with a wooden pointer, Mrs. Rowe started naming the letters, first the capital and then the lower case. Proper schooling had begun without episode and school was “okay” from then on.
The morning exercises were standard for the start of every school day for the first 8 years of elementary school in Dayton, Ohio continuing even when our family moved and I attended a different school in another district.
High school was different, we no longer did the Morning Exercises; we had home room period for study and then changed classes and teachers for 5 different periods and subjects. High school did not require Morning Exercises but did offer Monday Morning Assembly during the home room period which was not mandatory but most of us attended to get out of Home Room. There we did the “morning exercises”, had a brief talk about whatever the speaker for that day chose – many times moral fables but never anything overtly religious.
Sometimes an outsider would come and talk about nature, the park system around town, the history of statues we might see at the Dayton Art Institute, in museums; other topics that might include a slide show or short movie. Once I remember a Ms. Maggie Price came and talked about people living in the spirit world after they had died. I liked that as our family was Spiritualist! She is the only outside speaker whose talk I can recall!
I never thought to question the teachers or the Lord’s Prayer. It simply was the way it was.
Many years later while attending the Unity Church after the Spiritualist church had closed, I learned about George M. Lamsa’s Bible translation from the original Aramaic, which is supposedly the language Jesus spoke. What a surprise! I hadn’t even known there was any other Bible than the King James Edition!
Still, when encountered here or there, The Lord’s Prayer remained the “K. J.” version.
A minister I met at a Spiritualist Camp mentioned he had always had “difficulty” with the Lord’s Prayer. Of course I wanted to know "Why?”
He started me thinking when he asked why a kind, creating, healing, caring, loving spiritual entity – whom we referred to as Infinite Intelligence – would have to be asked to not lead us into temptation? How could that type of God Force ever be thought or accused of deliberately leading us into temptation?
Where was the sense in that?
Finally – again years later – while researching something – I again ran into the Lamsa rendition of the bible. Translated from the Peshitta manuscripts, Lamas’ Lord’s Prayer made so very much more sense to me.
Instead of having to ask God to NOT lead me into temptation, (King James Bible) I resonated with “…Give us bread for our needs from day to day. And forgive us our offences, as we have forgiven our offenders. And do not let us enter into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13, Lamsa Bible.
As free will agents, it makes sense to ask that we have assistance and reinforcement from a loving Entity so that we do not make wrong choices or that our conscience be influenced toward the positive rather than negative experiences.
There are many other words in this bible that make more sense to me than what I find in the King James edition.
Another example is in King James, Matthew 19:24 which states: “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Lamsa states, “It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” What a better comparison: one thinks of a silk or linen thread going through the eye of a needle sewing a garment and compares that thickness to the dimension of a ships rope, used to tie to a pier securely.
I am also aware of the meaning of the terms “edition and version!” Editing can imply removal or insertion of words not originally in the authors’ manuscript. Version can indicate a total change of thought. As, witnesses to an accident can see things totally differently depending on their vantage point when it occurred.
There are also the somewhat confusing terms in the English language that are called homonyms. Words sounding alike but having different meanings. Four, the number or “for” the preposition. Or fore – called out as a warning in golf, or the front part of a ship, or meaning situated in front of...
Theirs, a possessive pronoun or there’s, meaning there is. Pear, a fruit or pare, meaning to remove the skin from an apple or vegetable. It can also mean to minimize or cut down.
Too, meaning many, to, again a preposition or two meaning the number after one. Hear, to listen, here as in this place. English is full of homonyms.
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Sometimes words are spelled the same such as rose the flower and rose, a past tense of rise, or differently such as carat and carrot. Road, rode, scene and seen, see and sea, side and sighed are more examples.
It only seems reasonable that someone working with translating from one language to another would run into that type of situation and innocently take the incorrect terminology.
Those errors can be understood but can also create problems in understanding the text being translated.
For that reason I have begun to rely more on Lamsas’ Bible and the accompanying booklet “Idioms in the Bible Explained.” In that booklet there are nearly 1000 idioms, metaphors and figures of speech that will make reading and understanding the Bible easier.
As free thinkers, Spiritualists are encouraged to read, learn and reason things through. Perhaps this article will help you enlarge your curiosity and ultimately broaden your horizons.
Spirit Bless You and Your Growth!