Summary: God is holy and our unified Christian life is rooted in the unity of His holiness and perfect love.
Living The Lord’s Prayer, Part, Mathew 6:6-13
“Hallowed Be Thy Name”
It’s a funny thing about our names. Many of us are very particular about our names. When I first met Christina it was of the greatest annoyance to her that so often people will call her Christine rather than Christina. She would always say that it just seemed odd to leave off the “a” at the end of Christine when it is so obvious that it is there. She has become much more forgiving of this.
Two year old Ephram has adopted the deepest interest in people’s names. Everywhere we go he asks me “Dat name? Dat name?” He is really interested in knowing people’s names. I think he picked this up from his older brother Sebastian who is also interested in people’s names but Ephram has taken his brother’s interest and turned it into a near obsession!
I read the story of a man named Mr. Simpkin, who gets frustrated with people who persist in adding a final “s” to his name. One day as he watched a clerk fill out forms while he supplied the information, he saw her make the same exasperating error. “Simpkin,” he admonished kindly but firmly; “just one ‘s.’ “
The flustered clerk made the correction—and the man stared hopelessly at her revision: “Impkins!”
Names are important. Some names have meaning built right into them etymologically. The name itself means something. Our daughter to be born in the next several weeks will be named Felicity, which means happiness or joy.
Jesus given name, Yeshua, in Hebrew means both “Salvation,” and the concatenated form of Yahoshua, is “Lord who is Salvation.” Names matter.
The second statement of the Lord’s Prayer says that God’s name is holy. “Hallowed be thy name.” That is what we will discuss today: the holiness of God and the beauty of His name. He is our loving Father, yes. He is also special above all else. We are beckoned into both a loving and reverent relationship with God.
It is interesting to note that the Lord’s Prayer, at least the core elements of it, did originate in the Gospel account or even with Jesus. Since Jesus is the incarnation of God it is fair to say that all things originated with Him, however historically, the primary tenants of the Lord’s Prayer are much older than Jesus.
“Kaddish (Heb., Doxology) prayer in praise of God recited at the end of principal sections of Jewish service. The rabbi recites, “May his great name be magnified and sanctified in this world that He has created by his will, and may his kingdom come, in your lives and in the lives of all Israel.” To which the congregation responds, “May his great name be praised eternally.” The prayer is characterized by eschatological emphasis and hope for the speedy advent of the messiah. It is also recited by mourners.” (Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period)
It must be noted that Jesus was (is) the Jewish Messiah. The Christ (Greek “Christos” or anointed one) is the savior of the world who came through the line of the Jewish prophecies foretold by Adonai, the One True God.
As such, we expect to find our savior drawing on the theology of the sages of Israel to explain His true nature. We Jesus time and again drawing on ancient Jewish thought and even expounding upon the true meaning of Jewish tradition.
This is not to say that rabbinical teaching and the teaching of Christ are the same. The logic of this is something like saying grass is green. Money is green. Therefore grass is money. Both Yeshua, Jesus, and the modern rabbis share common roots, but their fruits have distinctly differing value.
The significance of noting that the Lord’s Prayer has a close commonality with the Kaddish is to notice the beauty of God’s eternally unfolding revelation. He is congruent with Himself and the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament authors are consistent with Old Testament prophecy, poetic writings, Judaic prayers, etc.
Notice the pluralistic phrasing of the Lord’s Prayer: “OUR” Father; give “US”; lead “US”; forgive “US.” The plurality of the prayer echoes the common prayers of Judaic national identity, as they pray for God to deliver “THEM.”
Likewise, we are one body – the covenant people of God – We are not isolated.
Do you at times feel alone? Has the brokenness of this world left you feeling isolated? In the modern era one may have a belt loaded with 3 means of communication, a laptop connected to billions of other computers through the internet, be seated next to a spouse whose eyes are glued to the television and yet have a soul which is empty, isolated.
Our Father who art in Heaven, “Holy (Hebrew: Yitgadal v’Yitkadash), Magnified, Sacred, Blessed, Sanctified, is your name.”