I’m currently listening to a series from the Radio Bible Class “Discover the Word” program from several years ago. The study is working through a phrase-by-phrase study of the Lord’s Prayer.
Today’s study was focused on the phrase “…hallowed be Thy name…”. The discussion was centered around the idea of the qualities of a name – identification, qualification, description, attitude, impression.
There was also that troublesome word, “hallowed”. When I had the chance I looked the word up and was reminded that it means “holy” and that it is a past participle. What is a past participle? Once again, turning to the dictionary, it is a verb form used as an adjective or as the dictionary puts – “sharing the functions of a noun”. And so, a past participle is a verb that has been dressed up to serve as a noun and describing something which is completed action in the past but action that continues until now.
I guess it was the idea of “hallowed” that had me thinking – and its most recent usage in the Harry Potter novel about “The Deathly Hallows”. SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the novel, best to stop reading so as not to ruin the overall story of the book.
In HP and the Deathly Hallows, readers were “introduced” (although they had been known since the very first book in the series) to three things that would allow the owner to escape the clutches of death: a wand, a stone, and an invisibility cloak – “the deathly hallows”. They were “hallowed” or considered things to be revered because of their power.
And so too the name of God. The prayer reminds disciples that God’s name is to be revered - now because His name is somehow magical. It is known to provide believers knowledge of the Father. His name is his identity throughout the Bible. And because of the phrase’s placement in the prayer, I am reminded that my hallowed, heavenly Father is to be revered, honored, loved, and obeyed.
It makes me cringe when I hear God’s name used so flippantly – like He’s not really real. No reverence. No respect. No devotion. And yet, as flippant as people are, I wonder if within them there’s that distant impression that what they’ve said is more than just an exclamation of amazement; more than just something thrown out to express disgust or anger or frustration.
I’m thinking that Jesus made sure that such an awareness and such attitudes are where my prayers should start – relationship, respect, reverence. That when I pray, it’s more than just whispers and thoughts. It's me, talking earnestly to One who loved and cared for me - and still does.