Our Father in the Skies: What Our Editors Are Reading | Sojourners

Our Father in the Skies: What Our Editors Are Reading

Photo by Jared Verdi on Unsplash

In her new translation of the the Gospels, Sarah Ruden, via “The Good News According to Markos,” introduces readers to John the Baptist like this: “[the] baptizer appeared in the wasteland.” And when you say it like that, it’s easier to imagine (and long for) John bringing his baptismal powers to the here and now.

Now I grew up Presbyterian, so I’m accustom to a subtle sprinkle of water, but when I read Ruden’s translation, I want the baptizer to arrive with buckets, or Super Soakers, or a fire hose and just drench our aching world.

Because we have COVID-19 surges in India, mass shootings in the U.S., extremism in the military, and racism within our law enforcement. I wonder: When will the baptizer arrive in the wasteland?

In a beautiful analysis for The New Yorker, Casey Cep explains how Ruden’s translation whittles down the grandeur of other translations: “Our Father which art in heaven” (King James Version) becomes simply, “our father in the skies.”

“So many luscious words turn almost threadbare in her version,” writes Cep of Ruden. Maybe this is the right Gospel translation for 2021 — after all, aren’t we now a bit threadbare, COVID-19 having stripped us of both our defenses and pretenses?

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