15 August 2009

It really is...

...the perfect evening prayer:

After marking yourself with the sign of the holy cross at the invocation, confess the Creed, and pray the Our Father, then say:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

[Evening Prayers from the Small Catechism]

5 comments:

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I can't disagree with that, good Father. I would say, however, that the following is even more perfect:

I thank Thee, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day; and I pray Thee that Thou wouldst forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Past Elder said...

Oh no, THIS is perfect!

Ich danke dir, mein himmlischer Vater, durch Jesus Christus, deinen lieben Sohn, dass du mich diesen Tag gnädig behütet hast; und bitte dich, du wollest mir vergeben alle meine Sünden, wo ich unrecht getan habe, und mich diese Nacht gnädig behüten. Denn ich befehle mich, meinen Leib und Seele und alles in deine Hände; dein heiliger Engel sei mit mir, dass der böse Feind keine Macht an mir finde. Amen.

English has pretty well lost the second person familiar, so, either we translate into English as spoken to-day, which loses the intended significance of addressing God in the familiar rather than the formal, or we translate into English as no longer spoken, which retains the intended significance however since no-one knows what that is gains the unintended significance of it appearing to be the case that God is only prayed to in arcane language.

Good thing our liturgical scholars chose that field rather than English lit, because otherwise we would have had volumes of say Shakespeare with "historic" Shakespeare but also contemporary, Hamlet Setting I, Setting II etc. based on the varying editions and folios.

Clearly the solution is a memorial for Houston 2010 that we return all our proceedings to German.

No? Well then, I suppose we could take a couple minutes to explain that most languages have a distinction between speaking to people on a familiar basis and not, that English used to have this but doesn't now, so to retain that through Jesus Christ we who were born dead in sin and lost to God can now address him like a dear father, we also retain prayers that were translated when English still had that ability, and also retain our connexion to the centuries of believers who prayed this way too up until now, as well as to those who will come after us.

But that's probably way too close to catechesis to ever catch on. I'll start writing the memorial after I post this.

Elephantschild said...

We pray it with our 7 year old every night.

It really does cover it all.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

LOL, all of you.

I said this prayer with my kids before we discovered Compline and started readings out of the Treasury of Daily Prayer. Now the kids are asleep by the time I would use this.

Peace!

christl242 said...

Gotta agree with PE on this one. With all due respect to the Deacon and acknowledging the gracefulness of Jacobean language, the German original of Luther's morning/evening prayer reads like the heartfelt supplications of a beloved child to his/her beloved Father.

PE may be on to something about Houston in 2010 :)

Christine