Some words cannot be said fast. Whether singing and speaking or thinking the Lord’s Prayer, it seems “Hallowed be Thy name” always brings pause. Ha-llowed. This odd word does not want to be rushed. We don’t say “hallowed” very often. This makes sense because the word has to do with otherness. Not the ordinary. Not the common. Rather, the set apart. Specifically, relates to things or places or even people set apart for Temple service.
The articles in the Temple cannot be used anywhere else. They are holy. Set apart. The priest goes through consecration process as he enters to serve in the Temple. He is set apart.
So I’m sitting back at the coffee shop, re-hearsing, re-membering, re-citing the Lord’s Prayer yet again. “Hallowed be Thy Name” almost always brings the prayer to a standstill. In the middle of the common, every day, secular space, I am uttering “Hallowed be Thy Name.”
The Lord dwells in unapproachable light, yet I dare approach Him in the midst of lattes and laptops. I’m aware of the warning from the third commandment, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain.” Yet here I am praying, “Hallowed be Thy Name” while voices chatter and the Beatles sing “Hey Jude” in the background,
Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you begin to let her under your skin
You begin to make it better.
The song reminds me of our longing for restored relationships, and our struggle to make that a reality. Even as the Beatles were singing a song about healing a love relationship, they struggled with their own breaking bonds.
The Beatles mirror the weakness of each one of us sitting here today. It is in my absolute weakness, I appeal, “Hallowed be Thy Name.” I’m lifting up the name, holding it up above me and above all those around me. I may actually be moving closer to the third commandment.
For this command is warning about “bearing the Name in an empty way.” But if we lift up the Name, acknowledging our Lord as the only refuge from ourselves, we might we be bearing the name faithfully. Lifting up our voices and our hearts to the only faithful and true One. Praying “Hallowed be Thy Name’ in the midst of the chatter and the music could be a speech-act of speaking, turning, facing, seeking, longing for His faithful Name to be revealed in our midst. I think of Jesus eating with the sinner Zacheus. The Word Made Flesh, the Holy One goes to eat, dwell, commune with an evil man. In so going, he may be enfleshing Isaiah 57:15,
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
(Isaiah 57:15 ESV)
So even as I lift up His Holy Name in worship, I am asking Him to remember us lowly humans. We cannot stand in a high and holy place. “We cannot come to you Lord. Might you have mercy upon us and come dwell in the midst of fretting and failing, our broken relations and wounded souls? Might you come and sup and heal us like you did Zacheus? Might this little coffee shop be a place of Your Presence and Your Glory for a just a few moments?”
I worship and entreat, “Hallowed be Thy Name.”