A New Twist on an Old Word
How often do you use the word hallowed in your daily vocabulary? I know; very seldom. We periodically say it in the Lord’s Prayer. But even then, it’s a strange word. Like the waves on the shore, it rolls across our tongues, and then disappears.
Come with me to the beach—or the shore—if you’re from New Jersey. Do you feel the cool sand between your toes? Tiny sand crabs scatter as we walk along the water’s edge. Up ahead, we spot a large log worn smooth by those before us. Ringside seats reserved just for us. We sit quietly and gaze across the water toward the horizon. No words required; no words needed. The waves lapping against the shore speak our language. The tranquility of the moment bathes us with anticipation. And then it happens, the phenomenon that never grows old. The sun peeks above the horizon as if to make sure we’re watching. A little shy at first, it ascends slowly, and then picks up speed. Suddenly it burst upward in all its glory. We gasp in wonder. We couldn’t have ordered a more spectacular call to worship our Creator.
Hallowed be your name is also a call to worship. In the context of the Lord’s Prayer, what does hallowed mean? *to regard with respect the holiness and purity of the Father’s name. It’s an invitation “to know” and honor personally a name once too holy to utter.
We worship who we know, not what we feel. Jesus reminds the woman at the well, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation comes from the Jews.” And then He encourages her (and us) with these words. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:22-24
Worship is a celebration of truth. It may or may not involve emotions. God commands us to praise Him, regardless of our feelings. How do we do this? By faith, we choose to trust His Word in the midst of our circumstances. When we find this difficult, it helps to remember God’s promise. “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do. (I Thessalonians 5:24)
A call to worship is a call to reverence. According to the New Strong’s Concordance of the Bible, reverence to God refers to the idea of “downcast eyes, bashfulness towards men and modesty towards God.” Matthew 6:2 reminds us the appearance of drawing attention to ourselves is an offense to God. That gives us something to think about, doesn’t it?
The above definition brings to mind the importance of humility. True worship is the praise offering of a humble heart. Devotion to God may sometimes lead to outward expression. However, it’s not necessary or particularly beneficial in a group setting. Extreme outward acts of praise can be distracting to other believers and confusing to seekers.
I’m not saying we’re never to raise our eyes and hands during corporate worship. That’s up to the Holy Spirit’s leading in each believer. The essence of corporate worship is to enjoy God’s presence and respect one another. With this as our goal, our worship will honor God, as well as attract others to Him. Hallowed be your name!