‘Our father who art in heaven,’ so begins the Lord’s Prayer. I must have either said it or mumbled it countless times during the ten years I spent at a Christian school. ‘Hallowed be thy Name.’ May your name be consecrated and made holy.

‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.’

The concept of a Cosmic Inheritance is not peculiar to Christianity. It implores us to believe that there is a Higher Power and that we should live–not according to our own will–but to abide by the Will of the Heavens.

‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ May we have gainful employment or may we be blessed by the charity of others so that we not go hungry. No matter how intelligent or hardworking we are, we can all fall on hard times. Whether we are poor or rich, intelligent or lacking thereof; the prayer calls on us to be humble and to ask, for we never know when the wheel of fortune may turn–either up or down.

It had been years since I heard or uttered this prayer, but it came back to me a few months ago. This prayer that was taught to me and that was recited daily at school each morning, along with the National Anthem that all citizens were obligated to sing.

With the morning assembly that took place each morning, our educators were trying to instil in us the importance of a life of Christ–or more generally, a life of God–as well as the gratitude and loyalty we need to show our country. If God was Father, then Nation was Mother.

As some of us grow older, our relationship with God fractures. Our relationship with the soil where we were born–or where we reside–also fractures. Cracks appear in this relationship. The same goes for the relationship we have with our parents, our peers, our communities and so on. It seems the status quo no longer satisfies us. It seems the dogmas we were fed have led us astray. It seems that no one hears us, no matter how many Hail Marys we say.

The cracks were always there. It was time, trials and tribulations that made us conscious of them. We realise the fault lines that exist within the church. We feel disappointed in our political leaders. At some point, we come across their biographies and read all that they went through and realise that they were just people like you and me. That they, too, had their difficulties. For they never inherited a clean slate and neither did we.

Some fault lines can cause whole institutions to collapse, much like what happened during the Great Financial Crisis. Other fault lines can be mended with a bit of restoration and reformation. For each fracture, there is either a solution or a healing journey that is waiting to take place. Each institution that has gone up in flames never to return again is awaiting a rebirth.

For those institutions that survive, we applaud them for their resilience in the face of adversity. For those ‘too big to fail’–but that in actuality end up failing–are being reallocated and reorganised for a new destiny that is in the process of being born.

I now believe there are people who emerge to create a new world; and people who are born to either restore an old one or to salvage it when it seems that there is no solution in sight. The whole idea of a Renaissance is that something makes a comeback. But even then, it is no longer what it was when it first emerged on the scene.

You may tell your founding story over and over again, but that is no longer who you are. You, too, have become something else.

We are always in the process of becoming something else. That is why prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer offer us some semblance of solace in an ever-changing world. It reminds us of the simple fact that we do, indeed, have a Father in Heaven. And that our Will, alone, is never enough.

And whether it is in times of plenty or times of naught, we should still pray for our daily bread. At the end, and after all is said and done, it is not forgiveness I would like to seek for my sins–or label myself as a sinner and think everyone else to be that, too.

Rather, I would like to surrender to a Higher Power and ask, oh so humbly, “Thy will be done; on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

The Lord’s Prayer by James Tissot

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