Holy Is your Name
The naming of a child is done with much thought. From conception, parents spend time discussing what their longed-for child will be called. They look for names to suit the child which are meaningful, remember cherished relatives or friends, fashionable, even unique in spelling – teachers love these.
God has many names which describe his characteristics and actions. To Abraham, he revealed himself as El Shaddai, God Almighty. Moses asked God what name he should use to affirm his authority to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I am Jahweh – the Lord, God replied with a name he had not revealed to his covenant people before. God’s name is holy and he wants it kept that way. He has given us only two names which express his being.
God’s name is kept holy when his Word is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as children of God, live in harmony with it, wrote Martin Luther, scholar, priest, Protestant Reformer of the 16th century. We are indebted to him for translating the biblical truths into questions and answers which our children may easily understand in the Catechism.
Moving forward to the 21st Century, things have certainly changed. It appears that nothing is holy or sacred. Society has adopted a very casual approach to life and God’s name and his Word are the casualties. Our leaders are addressed by the cringe-worthy “Scomo” and “Albo” and, should any leader dare to express a faith in God, this is quickly ridiculed in the press along with much digging up of past sins in the name of truth and justice. How do we as Christians respond to these shame-filled revelations? With gloating, finger pointing gossip, or as the thief on the cross, God be merciful to me, a sinner?
God’s name is holy but do our words reflect this? Society has accepted words with quite disgusting meanings into everyday conversation. Those who spew out swear words from potty mouths need a dose of soap and pepper. But it’s justified as making a point so people will understand. How would you feel if you heard people using your name, or that of your friend in anger, as an expletive? Yet that is what occurs every second as people casually curse and swear in the name of God and Jesus Christ. It’s blasphemy. God hates it.
God invites us to gather in Divine Service to pray, praise and give thanks in his house. He promises to be there with us. Each part of the liturgy directs us to come closer to his presence. Our sins are confessed and forgiven, his Word is read and preached, we confess our faith, give an offering, gather at his table in Communion, finally to leave with a blessing. This is the place where God’s name is holy and we, as his children, live in harmony with it. This is where we gain the strength to stay faithful.
Sing or Pray ATA 157
Jesus, name above all names, Beautiful Saviour, Glorious Lord,
Emmanuel, God is with us, Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.