Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Names used to mean something, and in some cases, they still do. Names in differing cultures indicate values to a family and its history. Simple things, like giving a child the name of an elder in the family, is a sign of respect. It indicates heritage. There’s richness in this practice that moves beyond the named people. It speaks of attributes and characteristics, including respect for the original bearer. For example, my middle name is ‘Evans.’ It’s actually a pluralization of ‘Evan,’ which was my grandpa’s first name and my dad’s middle name. The short version is that my mom, making a joke, said ‘why not Evans? There are two of you with Evan in your name.’ It stuck. And I’m proud of that lineage, I have to say.
To hallow something is to treat it as holy, giving it weight and respect. Here we see God’s name being hallowed, treated with holiness. The name of Jesus is the only name given whereby we all must be saved (Acts 4:12), and that name is eternally above all others (Ephesians 1:21).
We were created in the image of God, and when we take on the name of Jesus, it is important that we understand the power and absolute holiness His name represents. Think about it. The name of Jesus, and only the name of Jesus, leads to salvation. Ruminate on that for a while.
I was raised in the Baptist tradition, and one thing we were always taught was taking the Lord’s name in vain meant using ‘The Name’ as a curse word. While I still believe that’s part of it, it’s only a small part. Things that are done in the name of God but going against his nature are part of that, too. Misrepresenting God is right there as well. Similar to how we respect our elders by placing their names on our children, the Name of God which carries Biblical attributes deserves our respect. It deserves proper respect and hallowedness.
As we live each day of our lives, we would do well to ascribe the holiness to God’s name it deserves. What’s in a name? Plenty. So, as you go through the day, consider the holiness his name represents. If there were times where you’ve misrepresented God’s name or his holiness, consider confessing them.
By Rich Obrecht