PUTTING A FACE TO THE NAME
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Have you met someone that you had previously heard of but not seen? We will often say, ‘Now I can put a face to the name.’ Little did Jesus’ disciples realize that their rabbi was putting a face to God’s Name.
Jesus’ disciples had some understanding of who the God of Israel is. This was the Holy Name that Jews would not utter out of fear and respect. Jesus teaches them how to speak to their God.
They understood the sacredness of God’s Name, but did they relate to the Almighty as a child to Abba Father? How much of God do we know?
John Piper has said,
I like to think of the biblical revelation of God as the tip of an iceberg floating in an ocean of mystery. Nine-tenths of God's majesty lies beneath the surface of revelation. And the tip of the iceberg revealed in Scripture is so high that it extends out of sight into the clouds beyond anyone's ability to comprehend it fully. Only a tenth of his character is given to us in this age for our contemplation, and even this is so great that we will never exhaust its riches.
( http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/hallowed-be-thy-name-in-all-the-earth )
From what we do know of God, we have grounds to view Him as the Name above all names.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said,
In the Jewish texts of Jesus' own day, the commandment about not taking God's name in the vain, from the Ten Commandments, is often understood as uniting the name of God with a curse - using the name of God as a kind of magic word - and that's to trivialize the name of God, it's to bring it down to our level, to try and make God a tool for our purposes.
So "Hallowed be thy name" means: understand what you're talking about when you're talking about God, this is serious, this is the most wonderful and frightening reality that we could imagine, more wonderful and frightening that we can imagine.
All the more extraordinary that we should be able to approach God as Father.
( http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/prayer/lordsprayer_1.shtml#h4 )
We are not invoking a magic word when we lift up God’s identity. We are speaking to the Almighty in terms that we can understand- Father. But ‘Hallowed be thy Name’ also begins to establish God’s otherness. God is more wonderful and frightening than we can imagine.
A healthy fear of God is not based on distrust and wondering about His rationale. The fear is akin to Moses’ experience. He was allowed to have the full glory of God’s goodness pass him as Moses was concealed in a rock crevice. He felt the powerful presence but was not allowed to see God’s face. To do so would have killed Moses.
What a strange and wonderful mystery that God’s face is revealed in human form through His Son Jesus. We can look upon Jesus and see the Father’s face. Jesus did say, ‘If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.’
Jesus is the Name above all names.