Hallowed

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).

Hallowed? What is that? How does one “hallow”?

The Greek word “hallowed” is a derivation of the Greek word hagiazo which means holy. The Greek word for “hallow” has the word “holy” as its root. To hallow something means to greatly revere, to greatly honor, to treat as holy, and to set apart as holy.

Notice hallowing doesn’t just happen. It is something that must be done, something that must be accomplished.

What is interesting is that this verb is written in the aorist imperative passive voice in the Greek. Let’s break that down.

  • Aorist refers to a single act in the past tense
  • Imperative means it is a command
  • Passive voice means that it refers to an action that is done unto it. For instance, “Let the book be carried home.” The verb passive in this sentence is written in the passive voice. The book is not carrying, but is being carried.

Putting all this together. What does all this have to do with anything?

What is astonishing about this is that Jesus teaches his disciples that the disciples have an active role to play in God’s name being hallowed. God’s name is honored, revered, treated as holy, and set apart as holy and special by the actions being done by the disciples. At the same time, this means, that the disciples can live in a way that doesn’t hallow God’s name.

Not only is this a good idea, but Jesus makes it clear that “hallowing” is a command. It is something that disciples are commanded to do.

It is when disciples live lives that reflect God’s glory and holiness that God’s name is hallowed. Whether our world hallows God and God’s name is dependent upon how God-followers live and reflect that reality.

When we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” we are committing to intentionally live in a way that honors, reveres God’s holy name. Hallowing God doesn’t happen by accident nor haphazardly. It is intentional. It is a way of life that must be chosen.

As we continue to look at the rest of the prayer, Jesus will teach us how we can go about hallowing God’s name.

For today I invite you to choose to live your life in such a way that will honor God through your living.

Every day I pray that I can glorify and honor God as a husband, father, and pastor. This is my life mission statement.

That’s the lens through which I want to make every decision.

  • Does this decision and decision honor God as a husband to Helen, father to Karis, Kaitlin, Kailey, and Kaleb?
  • Does this decision honor God as a pastor to the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace?
  • If it doesn’t I don’t do it.
  • If it does, I am wholly committed to it.

Choose today to hallow God’s name. Start with writing a life mission statement for yourself. This should provide you with the framework through which you make every other decision in your life.

Our “Father”

When we recite the Lord’s Prayer and say, “Our Father,” it’s ho hum. It’s no big deal. Of course God is our Father. What else would God be?

The reason for this is because of over two thousand years of Christian history. We’ve become accustomed to something that would have been absolutely shocking, horrifying, and offensive to everyone in the ancient world. It would have been so offensive to the common Jewish person that the person who spoke of God in such intimate terms would have been punishable by death.

There were other religions, of course, during the New Testament period. All of them regarded gods with the utmost respect and reverence. To refer to god as god, Lord, Master, Elhohim, etc. was perfectly acceptable. However, no one referred to God in such an intimate term as Father.

Even in the modern world, even when monarchs have no political power, there are certain protocols that one must observe to have an audience with the Queen of England. Here are just a few examples:

  • On presentation to the Queen, the correct address is “Your Majesty,” and subsequently, “Ma’am.”
  • Be early. Guests should arrive before the royal.
  • Take the Queen’s lead. Don’t talk unless spoken to. Don’t sit until she sits. Don’t begin eating until she does.
  • Don’t touch her majesty.
  • Only shake her hand if she offers it.
  • Don’t turn your back on her majesty.

This isn’t even all of it. There’s more. There are protocols on what to wear, how to present yourself, where to sit, etc.

This is just to hang out with the Queen of England. She’s not even our Queen. But if you and I were to have an audience with her, we would have to observe all kinds of protocols.

Imagine how much regard, reverence, and genuine fear there was when thinking about being in the presence of God.

The way the ancients revered and regarded God was with the utmost respect and honor. It was completely unthinkable to refer to God as Father.

Yet, this is exactly what Jesus teaches his disciples to do. So much so, two-thousand years later, calling God “Our Father” has become ho hum, no big deal, a matter of fact.

The reason why we can call God our Father is because that’s who he is because of what Jesus has accomplished for us through the cross. We have been ingrafted and adopted. We have become heirs of God’s kingdom!

Wowsers!!!

What makes this even more amazing is how we can’t imagine a God who isn’t our Father.

Thank you, “Our Father!”

Our Father…

In the days to come, we will be taking a closer look at the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples to pray. It is known as the Lord’s Prayer. This title is both right and incorrect. It is right, in that this is the prayer which the Lord taught his disciples to pray. But it isn’t the Lord’s prayer in the sense that this is a prayer that Jesus could have prayed. We will get to that later as we study about God forgiving our debts.

For today, I want us to focus on the first word, “Our.”

Why “Our” Father? Why not “My” Father?

So much of American Christianity is expressed as my faith, my beliefs, my God, my Savior. I think this is a fantastic corrective against our individualized understanding of faith.

Our. Not my.

Perhaps Jesus wants us to know we are most fully who God intends for us to be when we are in God’s family, God’s community called the church. Perhaps it’s because it’s impossible for anyone to be a follower of Jesus Christ without also belonging to his body, the church of Jesus Christ.

The simple truth is that we miss out on what it means to be a follower of Jesus when we are in isolation. There is no such thing as a Christ-follower in isolation. The moment we become a follower of Christ, we become sons and daughters in God’s family. This family is called the church.

The New Testament word for church, ekklesia, literally means the assembly of the called out ones. The very word itself refers to a multitude of people. The word church excludes any idea of an isolated Christian. If we are a Christian, we are a member of Christ’s family and Christ’s church. If we are a Christian, we are one in relationship with others.

Here’s what this means: No matter what you are going through today…

  • You are never alone because you are a part of God’s family
  • You are never alone because God is always with us as our Father

Our.

I like it. Thank you God!