Widely known as the Lord's Prayer, and found in Matthew 6:9-13, this advertisement from the Church of England featuring that prayer was reportedly rejected by a number of leading cinemas in the UK due to concerns that some patrons would be offended.
Michael Frost, an Australian missiologist, had this to say on Facebook:
The controversy, if it may be called that, is noteworthy.
As I have returned to this advertisement, I've done my very best to put aside my surprise, or my sadness. And I've asked myself why I was surprised and saddened in the first place, and what these reactions say about me and my assumptions about the place of Christianity in culture today.
The Church of England was quite clever, asking that this advertisement run to coincide with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is also smack in the middle of Advent. And it is quite well done, I think, to show the diversity of people, and places, and times and seasons of life, within which this prayer might be prayed.
Death. Marriage. Worship. Solitude. Community. Work. Nature. Crisis. Baptism. In rural lands, and in cities. For the citizens of the UK, and for the immigrant.
And in thinking on these things, and in putting aside any feelings of rejection or surprise, or sadness, I remember that this is the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. It is ours, given to the church. It is a gift.
And while I would like all people to discover the joys of praying this prayer, with Jesus, perhaps it will have to be done apart from the disembodied witness of an advertisement, and must be brought through the apostolic witness of the church. The advertisement sought to be a beginning point, not an end.
And it can still serve that purpose. But there are others ways to invite the world into prayer.