The book of Luke offers some interesting and unique characteristics. The author seems to go out of his way to emphasize the Jewish beliefs and traits of its central characters. Luke’s story begins and ends with the temple which, by the time the story was written down, had been destroyed by Rome. Much of the story includes glimpses of hope that one day the oppressed will be set free. Additionally, he regularly pairs stories of men with comparable stories of women, and writes in a manner that suggests his audience were not only well educated, but also Gentiles.
These next four weeks are based on the same three verses, which make up Luke’s account of The Lord’s Prayer. It is simple, yet profound. As readers learn and grow in their spiritual lives, the prayer itself takes on new shades of meaning. “Father, hallowed be your name” first and foremost establishes a relationship between God and humanity. The relationship of a loving parent is unique among all relationships; there is no love like the love a parent has for a child. Jesus invites us to open ourselves in faith and trust like a child opens herself to a loving parent. Trust can be a hard thing to come by, and people learn to trust (or not to trust) the world by first trusting a parent. God embodies all the things a loving parent should be: trustworthy, loving, disciplining, patient, compassionate, caring.
In our world, where very little is sacred anymore, it can be hard to appreciate what it means to hold a name as holy. With our OMG’s and WTF’s, our language hardly has room for sacredness. Why, even our president is no longer called, “Mr. President,” but “Obama,” or “Bush,” with the same reverence we use to identify criminals like, “Manson,” or “Madoff.” So, what might it mean that God’s name is holy? Perhaps it has less to do with what we say or how we say it, and more to do with how we hold those words, names, and beings within us. Our OMG’s won’t go out of style anytime soon, but I doubt God will strike down or slay people who use it. Instead, this might be an invitation to behold the God who creates with the awe and wonderment that God deserves. To look outside ourselves and the world we can see, and allow ourselves to be drawn into the realms of creation we cannot see – the spiritual, the mystical, the holy. This may be why yoga, tai-chi, and meditation, among other practices have become increasingly popular. We long for the holy – we need the holy. We are wired to search for meaning and purpose. God extends an invitation here to hold God inside your spiritual self and call upon God to walk with you on your spiritual journey. The Lord’s Prayer is a simple and ancient, yet powerful invitation to stand before the holy and address the sacred by name.
He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”