Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiness begins here: "Hallowed be your name"

As we saw before, all the holiness in this world depends on the holiness of God. In a world with no knowledge of the holiness of God, nothing at all is regarded as holy.

We live in an age of disrespect. Too often, derision and mockery are accepted; reverence is not. Too many times, people have marveled at what our culture has become, how low we have sunk, and often the shock is voiced with these words: "Is nothing sacred?"

That which gives purity, beauty, meaning and dignity to our lives is holiness. In "holiness", we find part of the mystery of God. If you ask people, "Where does the world come from?" some will say the Big Bang. The Big Bang lacks two things, compared to God: personhood and holiness. Some will say the world was caused by Intelligent Design but the designer may not be God. The Intelligent Designer, thought of in this way, lacks one thing compared to God: holiness.

Holiness is at the core of the mystery of what it means to be God. The holiness of God is, time and again, associated with his glory and particularly with beauty. Another symptom of this sickness of our age is that our artwork has lost its beauty. It seems this began about the same time that the holy was thrown out of favor as a rightful theme of art. (Should the "Age of Enlightenment" be re-named the "Age of Disenchantment"?)

God's holiness affects more than just himself. It affects us and the world we live in. It is not by accident that the very first prayer we offer each day, each night, is "Hallowed be your name." Jesus taught us to begin with this, to make this the foundation of our petitions, the prayer on which all other prayers rest. Without this petition, the next petitions are impossible. God's kingdom come, God's will be done on earth as in heaven ... What kind of kingdom does not honor its king? And how is his will done -- who sets out to do that will, where God is not honored? It begins with reverence. To hallow God's name is to take part in his kingdom.

If we want to reclaim this world as hallowed ground, it begins with hallowing God's name. Our own holiness does not begin with ourselves, or our personal purity, or our obedience or steadfastness or clean records. It begins with hallowing God's name.


Martin LaBar said...

Indeed. Hallowed be Thy name.

Howard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard said...

You reminded me of the wonderful scene in the 'Agony and the Ecstasy' where Michelangelo is explaining how he could portray God in the creation scene as such a fatherly figure - "because that is the way I see Him".
Without such a vision, our approach, our interpretation of things, be it artistic or scientific, is an empty one indeed.