Hallowed Be your name

Daily Bread 2020 #3

A Thought To Ponder:

On November 18, 1863 a large crowd gathered for the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was the site of the one of the most decisive and bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.  Just a few short months prior, an estimated 46,000 to 51,000 men were wounded, captured, or killed in the course of the three day battle.

You most likely can quote the first few lines of President Lincoln’s speech on that day.  Using an economy of 271 words, his speech is long remembered as one of the greatest speeches in American History.  But, did you know that Lincoln was not the primary speaker on that day?  His remarks came on the heels of a two-hour, 13,000 word oration given by Edward Everett. Regarded as one of the greatest speakers of his time, Everett delivered his speech eloquently never once referring to his notes.

On the day following the dedication, Edward wrote to the President and said,  “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

Lincoln’s words made an indelible mark on our nation’s conscience and have endured in the 150 plus years that have followed.  Like Christ’s words in the Lord’s Prayer, Lincoln employs some of the same words and images.

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” 

What Lincoln says of the ground, Jesus says about the name of the Lord.  It is “hallowed, dedicated, consecrated.”  Put simply, it is set apart for special honor.  God’s name is to be hallowed because our God is all together different, higher, better, and greater than any other thing or person.  

God isn’t just intrinsically holy, although He is, He is also to be kept holy.  Set apart.  Held up. Dedicated for praise.  And we, the people that bear His name, are dedicated to that task.  By our actions and our words and our interactions with other God-created beings we lift up His name.  That’s what Jesus means when He says, “hallowed be your name.”

It doesn’t take two hours and 13,000 wise words to make this happen.  We can simply lift up His name every chance we get.

Questions To Ask:

1.  Think of some of the most impressive people you’ve ever met.  What qualities set them apart from other “normal” people?  What could they do that others couldn’t?  What kind of aura did they project?

2.  When you think about our God, what sets Him apart from other “gods?” What makes Him different?

3.  What do you think God meant when He identified Himself to Moses as “I am that I am,” or “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?”  What’s significant about this name?  What does it hold back or keep us from knowing?

4.  How we keep the name of God holy?  How do we sanctify His name?  What actions can we take to lift up God’s name?

5.  “To become a Christian is to be raised to the ultimate height in status because we suddenly become children of the God of the universe, and we have direct access to him because we are his children.” Scot McKnight  

How does praying the Lord’s prayer remind us of our standing with God?  How does it feel to “bear His name?”  What do you want people to know about you if you are representing God to the world?

A Prayer For Change:

I was asked this week to share my favorite verse from a hymn.  I immediately thought of these words Frederick Lehman wrote in 1917.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made;

Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,

And ev’ry man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole

Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure

The saints’ and angels’ song.

What words would you use to talk about the love of God?

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