Matthew 6: 9
Hallowed be your name,
We all know the story of the little boy who referred to God as Harry and when asked why said “Cos that’s what the Vicar calls him every Sunday he says Our father who art in Heaven Harold be thy name!”
He certainly was not the boy who grew up thinking the Lord’s Prayer started “Hands together, eyes closed and in a good strong voice, Our Father….” Because that was how the Headmaster started it every morning at Assembly. I know for certain he was not the same boy because the young scholar was called James Jones later to become Bishop Jones of Liverpool and tell this story on ‘Thought for the Day’.
There are several other stories about the mishearing of the Lord’s Prayer, and it might be said they all detract from this phrase in Verse 9, because this verse calls on us to hallow God’s name. It calls for us to hold him in due reverence. The Greek word translated as hallowed is for once an accurate and simple translation of the word used but if that word is traced back to its roots it shares those roots with other words that mean to set apart, is different and is unique, so this verse could be translated as “Let your name be different to all other names, as your name is absolutely unique”.
And Harold disappears from the schoolboy joke book!
To show God due reverence and hallow his name we must do certain things.
We must accept and acknowledge God’s existence, this might seem like stating the startlingly obvious but you cannot revere anything unless you accept its existence. Remember the Bible never tries to prove God’s existence it is a plain simple self-evident truth that needs no explanation like the fact that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
We must also know the kind of God we reverence, a God of love. If you look at the gods of say Norse mythology they are to be feared, respected, perhaps even admired, but loved? No.
God though is first and foremost a power of love which we can receive and return.
To show God due reverence too we must acknowledge him as a living being. How often have I heard people of no faith say Yes Jesus was a good man with a lot of good ideas, but unless Jesus is accepted as the Son of God made flesh, crucified, resurrected and alive, then we do not know God and we do not show him reverence. God is a living presence in our lives, as Wordsworth puts it “A presence that disturbs me with joy”. It is in that disturbing joy we may find and offer true reverence.
To give true reverence requires one more act on the part of the believer; a combination of submission and obedience. It is no use us wishing to hallow God’s Holy Name if we fail to obey him and love one another as we have been loved. Martin Luther wrote “How is God to be Hallowed? When our thoughts and deeds are in full submission and obedience to God’s will.
Let us give God the reverence in praise and service his Holy name and character deserve.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, we praise you but we often fail to hallow you in the way in which you deserve. Forgive us when we fail to give you all the glory. Help us to find joy in serving you in our daily lives and by so doing we may indeed hold you in due reverence.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,