Sermons

Summary: The more we hallow (value)the name of God, the more love of God flows through us.

THE SACRED NAME

(Exodus 20:1-7)

If you have ever taken a “Dale Carnegie Course” on how to win friends and influence people, you know that one technique is to get the person’s name

right: it’s pronounced Ione, not IonE or IonA; no Parry is spelled with an

“A” pArry not an “e”. Going for an interview at college, the Director of Admissions made it very clear to me that the College of Wooster was pronounced Wooster not Woooooster.

The old cliché: “you can call me anything you want just don’t call me late for dinner” is not true.

People don’t like their name mispronounced or misspelled or worse misused. Remember in school days how kids could really be cruel to other kids by mocking or making fun of their name -- Laughinghouse – what kind of name is that? are you an Indian? Or how about the ribbing my school chum Gary used to take for his last name--DeBuvitz- try spelling that one.

Everyone of us here has their own “war” stories about how, if you please,

my name was taken-as the third commandment states it- how my name was taken in vain - misused, abused, treated with no respect.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Here we are getting miffed a bit if someone repeatedly mispronounces or misspells my name, while everyday on some construction site or crass talk radio show, people are using the Lord’s name to swear, tell off-color jokes,make fun of religion. What is particularly galling to me is when I am in the

YMCA men’s locker room (mind you ymca stands for young men’s Christian association) and an older fellow is talking in a casual conversation using the name of God as a cuss word in every other sentence.

You would think that after 4000 years when God gave this commandment to Moses that by now we would get it right, but from the media to the locker room to the office to the street, the Lord’s name suffers greater abuse than ever.

And think not that the second half of this commandment will not be fulfilled:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him/her unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Do you remember when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray?

Jesus taught them the Lord’s prayer. What is the opening statement?

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…

“Hallowed”, sacred, holy be your name oh Heavenly Father. The early devout Jew would not dare to say the name of God; the very name of God was considered too sacred to use- they had substitute names they used instead. The people of Moses’ day thought if your enemy found out and spoke the real name of God, then your enemy could use the power of God against you.

To call or to speak the true name of God was to call down God’s power to help and to save you.

Something that we have all noticed happening in our society is the loss of the sacred. Professional people that were once held in high esteem simply

because of their position are no longer given the respect that was once assumed, like the classroom teacher, the parish priest, the president, because of such things as the sexual abuse scandals in government and the church and schools.

Look at the grueling examination that a supreme court nominee must face or for that matter the negative campaigning and dirty tricks that are played during a presidential campaign, and these are considered (the president, a supreme court justice) two of the “most respected and highest offices” in our government.

This tearing down of people or of an office or worse of our God is what I mean by a loss of the sacred. When we look at the riots from the Muslim

world due to the cartoon caricatures of their god, Allah, you see a stark reminder that for some people in the world there is a hostile and bitter

resistance to profaning, taking in vain, someone or something that is sacred and still respected.

That’s what this third commandment is all about. The issue goes way beyond swearing or using the Lord’s name in vain. What is at stake is

holding in deep reverence Someone so holy and sacred, so perfect in

beauty and love, so complete in purity and righteousness, so

overwhelming in power and majesty that like Job you say with a trembling and broken voice:

I have heard of You, Almighty God, by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes (inner eyes mind you) see YOU (the purity, the power, the majesty, the righteousness); therefore I abhor (HATE) myself and repent in dust and ashes.

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