Monday, February 2, 2009

Hallowed be thy Name

“Hallowed be Thy name”

What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

The complete teaching of the trinity and of Christ’s work is implicit in this simple petition, “hallowed be thy name.” It follows after we are called to invoke the name of our “Father, who art in heaven!” Calling on our father in heaven does not mean that we are speaking to a Father in the distant and lofty heights of heaven. For heaven has come near through our Lord Christ – through his incarnation – through his perfect and righteous fulfillment of the law. God is near in his preaching and Holy Gospel. Fathers do not like to be far from their children. Prior to their birth they promise to love and nurture them, to protect them from all evil and harm. So our heavenly Father does not depart from us but encounter us – He comes near to be for us, to protect, and keep us.

In the second stanza of our hymn "Our Father, Who from Heaven Above," we sing that “We walk before you free from blame.” We walk before our heavenly Father confident of being loved and forgiven. We are confident of being heard and received as sons. The name of God is hallowed because he has destroyed Satan. We are confident that evil has been defeated and power of Satan utterly destroyed. Only through our Lord Christ can we call upon God as Father having received adoption as sons.

God’s name is given to us baptism. We are marked and sealed in his holy name The Holiness of God’s name for us does not separate us from him – for his holiness is that which brings him near to us. He makes himself approachable – dearly desiring to be near. In the explanation in our catechism we can exclaim unabashedly with childlike insistence, “Help us, help us Father to do this!” “Help us to receive your word in its truth and purity, help us to be your children, help us to lead holy lives.”

"You Shall Not Misuse the Name of the Lord your God?...We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by his name but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”

Here God forbids us from uses his name in vain by swearing, cursing, lying, or by not hallowing his name in thought or word. God desires that we call upon God’s name not just in thanksgiving and prayer but in times of great trouble. It is ok to cry to God, to be frustrated and angry at times. God promises to hear us. This is why God’s name is holy.

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