Leviticus 19:1-2 – The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (NRSV)
Our four-year-old daughter memorized the Lord's Prayer about a year ago. Recently we were in church, and she was saying the prayer more loudly than she normally does. I suddenly realized that she had started off, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be my name…".
I smiled to myself and made a mental note to talk to her about the meaning of the word "thy". But then I began to think that maybe she was on to something. A few months ago I read the book of Leviticus and was struck by the verses quoted for today's Scripture. The words that God told Moses to say to the people of Israel struck a chord in me. We are commanded to be holy, for the Lord our God is holy. But at the same time, there is also a promise here: we can be holy, because our God is holy.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hallow our names? I don't mean that we should idolize ourselves! I mean, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could live in such a way that our names were hallowed, so that no-one would have reason to speak badly of us? And wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hallow the names of those around us, by not speaking badly of them?
The opening verses of Leviticus 19 give us a challenge: we are to be holy, because our God is holy. But they also give us a powerful message of encouragement: we are able to be holy, because our God is holy. What a promise!
Hallowed be your name!
Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Help us to work to keep your name holy. Grant that we too might be holy, and that we might work to hallow our names as well as the names of those around us. Amen.