Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bethany Bullet-January 20, 2009

Have you ever had one of those light bulb moments—a revelation about an event or situation—an epiphany?
  • Perhaps it was in the middle of the night when you figured out the best solution for that nagging problem at work.
  • Perhaps it was sitting in a classroom trying to figure out an algebraic equation and suddenly…CLICK…the light goes on, and you understand.

Light bulb moments come in all shapes and sizes.

  • Perhaps it was in the movie theatre watching the movie Signs, or The Sixth Sense, or Fight Club when all of a sudden you go, “Ohhhhh…I get it!”
  • Perhaps it was at your desk, reading God’s Word and the pieces start falling into place and the Holy Spirit guides you into a greater understanding of who God is.

You may know that Epiphany is the Season of Light but it also is the Season of Revelation. For the people of Israel it took some time. But in the fullness of time the revealing Light of the World, came in the flesh to bring His light to those living in the darkness. Even with the Revelation and Epiphany of God, the light bulb did not click on right away. As Jesus began His ministry many were still walking in darkness.

In Matthew 5, 6, & 7 we find Jesus revealing Himself to a crowd that had gathered on a mountainside. As any good teacher would do, He began to teach in the hopes that there would be a light bulb moment for those in the crowd. In chapter 6, Jesus begins to teach about prayer. Hoping for the crowd and His disciples to have an epiphany He begins in verse 9, “This then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,”

The opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer show us two sides to our relationship with God. On the one hand we are given the comfort and the knowledge that we have a Father. Although God is infinitely powerful, all-knowing, and encompassing all space and time, we can see Him as our Father.

A kind and merciful Father who loves us so much He was willing to send His Son in the flesh, to die a horrible death, to defeat the power of the grave and sin on Easter. It is a relationship that is intimate and childlike. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8 that we are to cry out to Abba, Father.

The Aramaic term, Abba is the equivalent of saying daddy. It is the word that small children are taught along with Imma (mommy) when talking about their daddy and mommy.

This idea of speaking to God as our daddy would have been foreign to the people sitting on the hillside with Jesus that day, but Jesus wanted to show them the true character of their relationship to God. God is our daddy that we can cry out to when things are not going right, when we are scared, when we are in need. He is always there. This is the nature of God. He is our daddy!

This relationship may be intimate but it is not casual. It may be childlike but it is not infantile. It is relationship filled with holy tension as the cry of the child gives way to the obligation of the disciple.

After the gracious invitation to call out to Our Father, we pray, “Hallowed be Thy name.” But what does this mean?

Luther says this in his large catechism, “But what is it to pray that his name may become holy? Is it not already holy? Answer: Yes, in essence it is always holy, but our use of it is not holy. For God’s name was given to us when we became Christians and were baptized and so we are called the children of God.”

The holy name of God was placed on us when we came to the water of baptism but because of our sinful nature, our use of that name is not holy. As our loving Father claimed us to be His own in baptism we have a responsibility to be good witnesses to that name.

This was a light bulb moment for me a while back, as I never looked at the Lord’s Prayer in the light of my baptism before. When we begin the Lord’s Prayer we pray that God’s name is kept holy in our lives and in our actions. It is a call to remember our baptisms daily, to ask for God’s name to be holy in all we do for it is the name in which we were baptized.

It probably does not take too much introspection to realize that our lives do not always bear witness to the holy name of God. The light bulb moment here may come with regret, guilt, sadness, and disappointment. For at times we have been casual in our relationship with God our actions have been infantile as we become self centered.

When we ask for God’s name to be holy, we are asking for the Light of His Son to come into our lives, to reveal to us, to give us an epiphany, to purge us of our regrets, guilt, sadness, and disappointment. It is a daily call to remember our own baptism.

Our relationship with God may be intimate but it should not be casual, childlike but not infantile. As we look at the Lord’s Prayer the next few weeks, may your encounters with Jesus be light bulb moments as He reveals to you His wonderful love for you His child and disciple. And may you continually say, “Ohhhh…I get it!”

Abba, Father, daddy mine,

One true God of Gods, divine,

Enthroned above, and in my heart,

Omnipresent, set apart.

Elohim, El Shaddai,

Blessed be your name on high,

Yahweh, ever God the same,

Blessed be your holy name.


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