Do not lead us into the time of trial, but deliver us from evil.
Singing the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic brings tears to my eyes.
It’s not because of the beauty of the language, which I don’t understand, but because of my family who have been delivered from the evil one. My dear brothers and sisters who have lived through these words.
There is the family from Qarqoush, who escaped hours before ISIS captured the town.
There is the ninety-year old woman who is praying to see her oldest son one more time, although he is now a refugee in Australia.
There is the Arab man from Baghdad, disowned by his family, because he is now following Jesus Christ.
There is the pastor who was threatened and almost kidnapped, and who only left when his young daughter was threatened and he dreamed of his wife at his funeral.
There is the family who almost drowned trying to escape from Turkey to Greece on a dingy that sank.
There is my young friend, who doesn’t know where all her friends from the Syriac Catholic Youth Group are living, or if they are even still alive.
There are her parents who have seen their district of Mosul flattened, and the community scattered across the globe. A loss of an entire way of life.
For centuries, the minority Christian communities of Iraq have kept the flame of the Gospel alive. Their heritage stretches back over the millennium, some even almost to the time of Christ.
Assyrians still speak a dialect of Aramaic, which was Jesus’ mother tongue.
Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant worshipping together. Chaldeans, Assyrians, Arabs and one English woman taking Mass, or Communion or Breaking Bread together, because we are all one in Christ Jesus.
This is a congregation who are living through a time of trial and who have seen the deliverance of the Lord.
I believe that the most accurate translation is ‘time of trial’, not ‘temptation’, because God doesn’t tempt us.
When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.'
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone
James 1 v 13
So, my prayer is
Do not lead us into a time of trial, but deliver us from evil.
Because Our God is able to deliver us.
(All of the stories above are true and all of them are from people I have met here in Turkey in our Arabic speaking congregation. However I imagined them all to be together at one time in this article, whereas in reality although some are still waiting here, many have been scattered across the world.)
We have native Aramaic speakers in our church, Assyrian Christian who have fled Northern Iraq. Jesus would have spoken Aramaic at home and much of his original teaching would have been in this ancient language.