This week we will consider the First Petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be thy name.” And Luther’s explanation goes, “God’s name certainly is holy in itself, but we ask in this prayer that we may keep it holy.”
Doctor Luther goes on to elaborate when this happens, “God’s name is hallowed whenever his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we as children of God live in harmony with it. Help us to do this, heavenly Father! But anyone who teaches and lives contrary to the Word of God dishonors God’s name among us. Keep us from doing this, heavenly Father.”
Interestingly, there is a tie here with the Second Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” The only way to keep from breaking this commandment is to ask God’s help in hallowing his name, rather than taking his name in vain.
Also of some importance is the fact that this petition leads the way! And whereas the request appears to be asking God to hallow his own name, interpreters of Scripture, from the beginning, understood that in fact we are asking that we might keep God’s name holy. Luther was not original in his teaching. He was a big proponent of the plain sense and time honored understanding of God’s Word. It is heretics who revel in novelty!
One of the surest ways to dishonor anyone is to do violence to their words. If you twist what someone says, if you misrepresent their words, or if you ignore their wisdom and advice you defame the person. And this is exactly what we do when we do not teach God’s Word in its truth and purity, and when as Christians we do not live in accordance with it!
Plain and simple, we honor our Lord when we honor his Word! And only with the Divine help do we have a prayer, pun intended, in honoring him!
Since You Asked…
What is the significance of the Season of Advent?
The Church year begins with Advent, a season of preparation that looks toward both Bethlehem and Christ’s return at the end of the age. Advent is its own Season and the rich symbols and themes should be safeguarded and celebrated without being drowned out by the upcoming celebration of Christmas. The first two Sundays in Advent center on the Parousia (Christ’s Second Coming). The third Sunday in Advent centers on John the Baptist as the herald of Christ. And the fourth Sunday often centers on the Virgin Mary in her exalted role in giving birth to God’s Anointed One.