A Restoration of Reverence

Lou Lotz

READ : Isaiah 6:1-5

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. (v. 1)

“Hallowed be your name.” Hallowed is an old-timey way of saying holy. Holy means separate, different, set apart. When we pray “Hallowed be your name,” we’re affirming that God’s name should be respected and revered as no other name.

What this first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is calling for is a restoration of reverence. Theologians talk about the otherness of God. God is other—awesome, holy, transcendent. I get uneasy, in worship, when the transcendence of God is compromised with folksy, buddy-buddy God-talk. When the guest minister began his prayer saying, “Hi Lord, it’s us!” that crunchy, annoying sound from the back pew was my teeth grinding. The Lord is “high and lifted up,” said Isaiah (Isa. 6:1). He dwells in “unapproachable light,” said Paul (1 Tim. 6:16). “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him,” said Habakkuk (2:20). God is my Lord, not my pal.

This restoration of reverence also puts our own lives in a right perspective. The more we hallow and revere the name of God, the more we realize how silly we appear when we demand reverence for our own names and reputations. No matter how important you think you are, no matter how much you accomplish in this life, the attendance at your funeral will still be determined by the weather. Truly, we are not as great as we think we are, and God is infinitely, immeasurably greater than we can imagine. “Hallowed be your name.”


The Lord’s Prayer