By Mitchell Landsberg
"Our father …"
Most Christians can fill in the words that follow: " … who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done …"
But wait — let's rewind. John Dominic Crossan, a renowned, if controversial, scholar of Christianity, says the essence of the Lord's Prayer can be found in those first two words, in fact, in the single word "father," which, he believes, encapsulates an entire 1st century worldview lost to modern churchgoers.
When the prayer continues with "hallowed be thy name," he said, what it means by "hallowed" is "a fair distribution for all, the justice of an equitable household."
In other words, Crossan said, the prayer is about "distributive justice," about making sure that all are cared for.
Crossan's book is The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer (HarperOne, 2010).