It is not just art that is impacted by our cultural views of Jesus. Our prayers are shaped by our culture too. Over the next few days I will share some that I have gathered over the last few years from different countries and cultures.
Here is one from the South Pacific Islands. It seemed a good place to start since the stars referenced in the prayer – the Southern Cross are the first that any good Australian student learns about. I still remember learning how to find the South pole using the Southern Cross. As you can see the Southern Cross is also a distinctive part of the Australian flag as well as flags of many other South Pacific nations. When I first came to live in the United States one thing I found rather disconcerting was the fact that I could not see the Southern Cross.
Surprisingly I did not really think about the Southern Cross as a reference to the cross of Christ until I read this prayer which I think comes from Fiji.
We ask you dear God that
Just as the great Southern cross
Guides our people as they sail over the Pacific at night
So may the cross of Jesus Christ
Lead us through the night and guide us safely into a new day