Our common Father

Daily Reading for October 16 • Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops, 1555, and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1556

But one word is left, which we must needs consider; Noster, ‘our.’ He saith not ‘my,’ but ‘our.’ Wherefore saith he ‘our’? This word ‘our’ teacheth us to consider that the Father of heaven is a common Father; as well my neighbour’s Father as mine; as well the poor man’s Father as the rich: so that he is not a peculiar Father, but a Father to the whole church and congregation, to all the faithful. Be they never so poor, so vile, so foul and despised, yet he is their Father as well as mine: and therefore I should not despise them, but consider that God is their Father as well as mine. Here may we perceive what communion is between us; so that when I pray, I pray not for myself alone, but for all the rest: again, when they pray, they pray not for themselves only, but for me: for Christ hath so framed this prayer, that I must needs include my neighbour in it. Therefore all those which pray this prayer, they pray as well for me as for themselves; which is a great comfort to every faithful heart, when he considereth that all the church prayeth for him. For amongst such a great number there be some which be good, and whose prayer God will hear. . . . So that it is a great comfort unto us to know that all good and faithful persons pray for us.

From Hugh Latimer’s “First Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer,” in The Works of Hugh Latimer, ed. G. E. Corrie (Parker Society, 1844).

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