An invitation: As I continue to blog through The Lord’s Prayer during this Season of Lent, I pray these words of reflection will be an encouragement to those who read them. May we make our hearts ready for the days of Jesus’ passion.
“Holy is your name” is the second powerful phrase of Jesus’ prayer after “our Father”. Maybe you know it better as “hallowed be your name.” In either rendering the thought is the same: God is other, set apart from us. To name as “holy” is to “call out” that One or that act that we seek to set apart. Whether the adjective “holy” is used of God or to describe an act of worship, such as “holy” communion, the intent is the same – to recognize in the ordinariness of our day and life that this One is not ordinary – this One is other.
Yes, God is other than us. God is holy. This phrase of the Disciple’s prayer provides balance to the prior intimate greeting “our Father”. Lest we become too familiar or chummy with God, Jesus reminds us that reverence is due our Creator. It is truth proclaimed, as we sing in the old but majestic hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God almighty.” It is scripture affirmed as Isaiah witnessed in the worship of the Seraphs in his temple vision (Isaiah 6:3): And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
To put to voice and thought this phrase is to call to one’s attention the holy things of God throughout the day. It is to marvel in the beauty of creation; to be swept away in the undeserved grace of our salvation; or to be overwhelmed in the abundance of God’s providential care and concern. It is to orient our thinking and redirect our attention to that which is beyond the ordinary, to the Holy One whom we have been taught to address as “Abba”.
“Holy be your name” brings balance to the equation of our faith and prayer, as well as to the living of our days. It reminds us to look for the holiness of God throughout a day. To seek God’s holiness in that which we see and those whom we encounter. It calls us to be vigilant in observation and worship.
Perhaps you can think of it this way. When you see evidence of the holiness of God, offer a breath prayer (a short simple word or phrase of prayer that only requires one breath):
- Praise to you God.
- Holy are you Lord.
- Your name be lifted up.
See if this doesn’t reset your day, your thinking and your perspective to the ways of God. In doing so, you will be naming God as other – calling out in recognition and reverence the Holy One.
May it be so. Amen.