Lent 1 Midweek, (February 25, 2015)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
TITLE: “Hallowed be Thy Name”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is from 2 Timothy, as well as from the passion of our Lord according to St. Mark.
There was a time when there was a name in Germany that was very popular. Parents would gladly give their sons this name, and there are many boys from three or four generations back with this name. But then something happened to change the name. World War II came and went, and Adolph was no longer the common, popular boys name. The name no longer stood for what it once did.
Something happens with the name of God as well, as we consider the petition, “Hallowed be thy name”. God’s name is God’s gracious presence with His people. Where His name is, there He is. His name came down and dwelt upon Mt. Sinai, and then on the Tabernacle. His name left the Temple when the people forsook Him and turned to other gods. But where His name is, so, too, there is God.
This is why the petition is so closely connected to the second commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, your God.” The name of God is power, just as the soldiers fell down at the name of Jesus in the Garden. And we pray in this petition that God’s name would be holy among us also.
Now at first glance, this is a rather peculiar prayer. Dr. Luther in a couple different places liked to call this the shy petition. Why do we need to pray that God’s name be holy? Isn’t it holy in itself? Why does He need us to hold this up?
Well, the problem is that we don’t hold up God’s name on our own, any more than we call Him our Father who art in heaven. In fact, left to our own devices the prayer would be more like “holy be my name, not thine.” When a person is making a name for themselves, they are working on becoming popular, or successful, or in having a reputation. What we pray for in this petition is that we would remember both who we are, but whose name we bear. When we forget who we are, we end up not with a confession of faith, but with a betrayal like Judas, or a denial like Simon Peter’s.
But here’s the gift, beloved. God has put His name upon you in your baptism, and every time His Word is preached, and the Sacraments are given out, every single time, God’s name is made holy among you also. Because when God’s name is made holy, good things happen. Why? Because God is good, and He wants only what is good for poor sinners like you and me.
Let us pray:
Holy is your name, o Lord. And you deign to place your name upon the lips of poor sinners like us, and make known to us everything we need to support this body and life. Keep us ever in you, O Lord, keep your Name in our midst, give us faith, and teach us ever to trust that where your name is, there you are to bless us forevermore.
Believe it for Jesus' sake. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.