The Kingdom, Power and Glory, Ameyn
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
We have arrived at the last line of the Lord’s Prayer: “For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” In Aramaic it is Metol dilakhie malkutha wahayla watesbukhta l’ahlam almin. Ameyn. Scholars differ as to whether this line was a part of the original prayer. Some faith traditions have also differed in whether to include this line. When I was a youngster in Catholic School, we did not say it until there was a change after the Second Vatican Council. When I did say it, I thought we were being like the Protestants! And it felt somewhat uncomfortable, even though it is a rather grand line in this prayer.
It was contained in the version in the Gospel of Matthew, but it was not in the Gospel of Luke. There is one scholar, Joachim Jeremias (1964) who Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of Prayers of the Cosmos, agrees with, that if this was not the closing phrase, then there was something much like it. This kind of closings is very much in the tradition of Jewish prayers to have a summative closing like this, a grand finale statement, if you will. And according to Douglas-Klotz, this closing perfectly summarizes the main themes of this prayer and recapitulates the spiral journey it represents.
At the end of this prayer, we come full circle to the beginning-the creative visioning of God and the power to accomplish these visions and the beauty that adds grace and artistry to them, as Douglas-Klotz states it. The energy is that of a God-directed, God-infused creative process which is our understanding of the Trinity in Unity. The Creative Process is Mind-Idea-Expression whereby Divine Ideas held within the energy field of God or Love take root in our mind, our consciousness as ideas and find an opening in expression, which is more of God or good, manifest in this world.
If we look at the Aramaic, the root meaning of dilakhie, for thine is the kingdom; this is not about ownership or possession. It is really an image of a planting, an image of a fertile and abundant field, one that contains all sufficiency, and the ability to produce all that is needed. It is a field of infinite possibilities, a God of Infinite Possibilities. Malkutha is a word we have heard before in “thy kingdom come” teytey malkuthak which is the cosmic “I can,” the royalty that permeates the universe. This is a reprise of the queendom/kingdom of God and we reaffirm that in this line.
Hayla refers to the Power, but this is not power over us. This is not an image of God above sitting at a giant computer with a camera and screen and a Smite/Don’t Smite button on the celestial keyboard. This is the idea of God as all Power, which is in alignment with our Unity affirmation of God as the Source of all Power. This is a power in unison or harmony with all creation. This is the incredible power or bond that holds the very atoms of the created world together. It is the power that we unleashed when we split the atom in creating the atomic bomb. It is the energy of this Bond, a power much greater than ourselves that holds our very being together, the atoms of our body, mind and spirit. This is all the energy of the Universe, the One Power that we affirm in Unity as God.
Teshbukta can be translated as glory, but this glory is more like that of a song, a resonating sound, the Ohm or the Ah of the first line of the prayer, Abwoon. This glory, or harmony is “the returning divine light and sound to matter in equilibrium” according to Douglas-Klotz. This is our own return to a divine harmony when we have that Ah ha! experience, when we “get it” and realize that the energy of God that we are! We recognize that the energy that holds all our cells and atoms together is a Divine attractive love energy. We understand the way that Paul did in Col. 1:27 “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (NSRV) This glory is truly connecting with or coming into harmony with your divine/human self, always in a dance of cosmic awakening. It also presents the picture of “a generative fire that leads to astonishment!” Think nuclear explosion!
Forever and ever translates from L’ahlam almin which is an idiomatic expression in Aramaic. This means that is has a particular meaning that can’t be understood by trying to understand the individual words. Examples in English are “Catch a bus” or “keep tabs on.” We understand what these mean, but attempts to translate them for non-English speakers are clumsy and often miss the flavor of the expression. In Aramaic, L’ahlam almin, means “from age to age”, or from gathering to gathering. The ancient Middle Eastern picture of life viewed the entire cosmos-physical world, planets, nature, human beings as slowly gathering to a central point and then slowly dispersing again. This cycle repeats itself and is what defines “the ages” for ancient people. Time is measured in generations and ages, not in calendars and planners, clocks and datebooks! And it acknowledges that we are part of something much bigger, much more than we can comprehend. It has existed in all ages, those past and those yet to come; it is ageless.
Now to the final word, Ameyn, which in Aramaic is much more than our Amen, and so it is and so we let it be! This is a solemn oath and is more binding than we consider a legal contract to be in our culture. If ancient peoples were negotiating an oral contract, and they were all oral contracts, the deal was complete when they each said “Ameyn.” When I emailed the talk title to Sally for the bulletin this past week, she asked if it was misspelled! No, just Aramaic! And in Aramaic, the roots of ameyn convey the image of the ground or foundation from which a particular future growth will occur. It is affirming all that is and all that is yet to be and pledging our faithfulness to all that has been said before the ameyn. It has its roots in the ancient Egyptian sacred word ament which points to the mysterious ground of Being which holds the secrets of life, death and rebirth.
It is a sound that is meant to be intoned like a bell; a sound which calls all of oneself together in the now moment. All is made well, healed and whole in this eternal now moment. So let us now say the entire Lord’s Prayer together, in the translation from the Aramaic, and then rest in the power of our Amen. It is a potent ending and beginning as we affirm that we are a part of this energy of the God of Infinite Possibilities continually unfolding in the creative process.
Amen and Ameyn,