"Our Father, in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debtors,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."
Striving Together with Our Father
So far in our series of reflections, we've learned that it is not about us, but we are part of a family. In our family, we strive together - we persevere, we keep at it - with our family and with our Father. The purpose of tennis, faith, life is keeping at it.
Why Trust "Our Father"?
One question that may come up at some point in the faith journey is why should we strive together with God? This question always comes down to trust. Do you trust God? And the answer to this question reveals what you believe about God's character.
The second statement of the Lord's prayer is an answer to this question. Remember, in Jesus' time and before, someone's name revealed their purpose and their character. So, when Jesus says "hallowed be your name" he is really saying something along the lines of "hallowed be your character." Jesus is making a statement about who God is and why Jesus trusts God.
So... hallowed. The word hallowed comes from the greek word hagiazo. The meaning of hagiazo is pure or holy (and the meaning of holy is "set apart.") So, Jesus is saying that the character of God is pure.
It is unmixed. It is unblemished. It is uncorrupted. The character of God, "our Father," is pure and unfiltered love. And love, as we learned at tennis camp, is always wanting the best for the other person.
Why trust God? Because God is purely and completely devoted to the best for you.
That's God's character. That's who God is.
This is why we strive with God.
Sometimes, we don't try, we don't strive, because we are afraid. We are afraid of the judgment that might come on us if we fail. We're afraid that we won't be as good as someone else. We're afraid that we'll mess it all up and look foolish. Just think about when I make an adjustment to someone's backhand and they stick with it for one swing, hit the ball long, and then switch back to their obviously broken, half-slice, tentative swing. We are afraid to stick with it because we are afraid of how'll we'll look or what others might say.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us."
That comes from the book of 1 John. When we realize that our support, the foundation of our family, is built on self-sacrificing, agape love, we are able to trust God even more. We are able to take more chances in loving our family. We are able to relax and be more free, more honest, more obedient - because we know that our family and our God is striving for the best for us.
And so our statement in Jesus' prayer. "Hallowed be your name." We are declaring that we trust God, that we trust God because God's name is pure, that God's character is pure love, and that we believe God is working for our best.
May you lean into that hallowed, pure love today.