God is bigger than our boxes. I see boxes all the time in prejudices like race, income, gender, age and so forth. In this post I want to continue on the theme of “hallowed be they name” from the Lord’s Prayer. What we saw in the last post is that early in salvation history God revealed Himself as one being but community. And from the paradox of both, God gives way for redemption through a way of atonement with the patriarchs like Abraham as imperfect as he and the sacrifice of his day was. But how much more the priest and sacrificial victim we now see in Jesus through the cross?
What I would like to highlight here is how God next shows Himself as so hard to pin down to common pragmatic ideas of what a person, much less a deity, is. Ironically, from God being prone to being a mystery, He is all the more accessible. We see that in the encounter with Moses at the burning bush. We have seen that His name can be hallowed in the midst of human ignorance. But it is better known to be hallowed.
U is for Universality
God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.”’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations (Exodus 3:13).
God is always happening. God is always related in covenant to His people whether they are alive or dead. God presented himself through a work of agriculture that burns but is not lessened in consumption.
Things developed in knowledge by the people that follow God. To call on His name already had a context of sacrifice before the law of Moses if one were to just look at the patriarchs. Before in the patriarchs they had no name. Calling on the name of the Lord was implied because they were petitioning His hand to be on the earth. With Moses and the levitical priesthood it was explicit to call on the name of the Lord but first in the individuals who were the chosen few.
“According to Jewish tradition, it was on the Day of Atonement that the high priest – and only the high priest – could pronounce the name of God, the sacred Tetragrammaton YHWH. When he entered the Holy Place with the blood of the goat set apart to the LORD, he would utter the name.” (Enduring Word http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0316.htm).
One might interpret the status quo of God to be first-class citizens versus the non-priestly. For the privileged few to call upon God and speak for God is the epitome of criticism against the Christian faith but it is not well-founded.
Such a criticism is found to not be well founded if one looks deeper into salvation history shown in Sacred Scripture.
So with that in mind God the Father sent God the Son and named Him “God saves”—Jesus. And Jesus in many points recapitulates this point in the many “I am statements”. At one point Jesus has a set up context that makes an impression that is without a doubt.
“Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple” (John 8:56-58). So here we see that God has a name and a face. It was the name of a finite context but still above all other names.
“Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). It is by the name of Jesus that we enter into the communion laid down as the original intent.
But before the fundamental quest for hallowing God’s name can be understood in its purest expression, it is needed to see where Jesus values the transcendence of God’s glory for that to happen.
S is For Spirit
For God’s name to be hallowed universally, the unveiling of God’s nature behind the name would need to be magnified by the Spirit of God.
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
…… in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28-29).
The lynchpin person for this to happen must be Jesus. He comes and shows the accessibility of God to the marginalized of society like the Samaritan woman at the well.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’ (John 4:21-25)
Per society there are great divides but in God’s plan there is not. Jesus predicts worship that is spirit and truth. It is is to be a truth by which all would worship in the context of atonement fulfilled in Christ on the altar we know as the cross. The spirit Jesus refers to is the life of God and truth He refers to could be translated as all-encompassing reality. And this truth is Jesus (John 14:6).
The Father did this as the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and gave us Jesus. And He does this when believers are gathered. In The First Council of Nicea they laid out the extension of Jesus through His assembly like so: “one, holy, Catholic [meaning according to the whole] and apostolic church”. Ideally, access to those things which are heavenly is to be understood as through Jesus not despite the visible Church but because of it. This is where the universality that goes beyond such things as race or ethnicity is implemented by the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Where shadow is fulfilled in substance…..
“Hallowed be thy name”.