When Jesus’ disciples asked how to pray, the Lord’s Prayer was his answer. Recently, the phrase “hallowed be thy name” keeps surfacing as kind of pivot around which the rest of my prayer revolves — I spoke about this last year and my message this year remains the same.
Years ago, I was told that it was OK, even healthy, to get angry with God sometimes. Angry about unanswered prayers. Angry about adversity. Angry about loss. More recently, the Lord has revealed to me that getting angry with God is actually a very bad idea.
Anger implies that God owes us something which he has not delivered. Anger exalts our will over God’s will and certainly does not “hallow” his name. What did Job say after losing practically everything? “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord!”
On Good Friday, we discover that the cross is salvific, including the crosses in our own lives, what cause is there for anger there? If Jesus, who is without sin, embraced the cross with sacrificial love, who are we to resent the adversities with which God sees fit to bless us — and indeed, save us? How could resentment possibly hallow God’s name?
We ask for our daily bread — everything we need, which is not everything we desire. We ask to be delivered from evil, yet only God knows what is truly best for us, and so we resent it when God doesn’t do things the way we would prefer. Even illness and death become a blessing when embraced with an attitude that hallows — sanctifies — God’s name.
He is the master; we are servants whose only role and source of greatest blessing is to do God’s will as best we know it.
That is why when people ask me about future plans, I often add the phrase “God willing,” which is a small reminder that whatever God wills — even difficult things — comes first. Jesus models for us today what it really means to hallow God’s name.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily at the Good Friday service at the Cathedral of St. Andrew April 15.
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