When we consider the Ideals of Scouting (i.e,. Oath, Motto, Slogan, Outdoor Code and Scout Law) there are two connected concepts that serve to “hold it all together” — understanding and doing our duty to God and our commitment to be reverent in our daily lives. I’ve heard other scouters refer to these as the “bookends” of our scouting ideals.
In pursuing my duties to God, one specific practice that I’ve long tried to understand and utilize better is prayer — our direct connection to God to make pleas, offer thanks and seek guidance. Combined with this is searching, studying and reading scriptures — God’s direct revelation to us.
[Note: you don’t have to be a Christian to be a scout, but in our troop, our families share a common faith practice and we often dig deeper into understanding scouting ideals in light of that common faith.]
In Luke 11:1-5, Jesus’ disciples asked for guidance on how they ought to pray. Additionally, in Matthew 6:1-15 similar (expanded) coverage is offered.
I was encouraged to memorize the Lords Prayer and repeat it at bedtime when I was a child. I understood that “hallowed be thy name” meant that I wanted to hold God’s name in reverence and that others would, too. For a child, I suppose that was an adequate way to look at the expression, but I’ve wanted to understand that notion better so that I could be assured my life was pleasing and honoring to God.
Hallowing God’s name(s) is an activity that directly connects our duty to God and practicing reverence. This goes far beyond us avoiding taking God’s name in vain, cussing, telling irreverent jokes or being dismissive of God’s role in daily events and activities (i.e. trusting in luck, lotto tickets or “fate” to get us through our tough spots instead of trusting God completely).
I found a very interesting article at Christianity Today titled “So, Who Hallows God’s Name?” by Carolyn Arends. Here is a direct link — http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/so-who-hallows-gods-name.html?paging=off
Within the article, Ms. Arends states:
What does it mean to “hallow” God’s name? I was raised to flinch whenever someone uses it as a mindless exclamation or, worse, a curse. I’ve heard about the extreme care taken in branches of Judaism: Pages containing the name of YHWH are never thoughtlessly discarded but rather buried or ritually burned. When I’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer, I’ve tried to cultivate that kind of personal reverence for his name—even while living in a world prone to profane it, and a church apt to make puns with it on T-shirts.
Every name we have for God is a revelation of his character. So making his name holy must have something to do with revealing him here on earth. But a review of the human track record tells us this isn’t our specialty.
There is a scene in the 1999 CBS miniseries Jesus that haunts me. Jesus is in agony in Geth-semane, and Satan comes to tempt him one last time. In a devastating move, he shows the Lord a preview of the evils that will be done in his name, and asks if his sacrifice will be worth it.
The scene is not from Scripture, but the scenario it proposes is powerful. In the shadow of the Cross, did Jesus observe all the wrongs—catastrophic and petty—we’d credit to him? Did he see inquisitions and gas chambers, defenses of slavery and “God hates fags” placards? Did he anticipate the way we’d use his name as a political trump card, or speak for him and pronounce his judgments in the wake of tragedies? Did he hear us mutter, when confronted with need, “God helps those who help themselves”? Did he want to shout that he’d said no such thing?
In light of all this, the Lord’s Prayer takes on new urgency. None of the six petitions Jesus taught—for God’s name, kingdom, will, bread, forgiveness, and deliverance—are things we can obtain on our own. In fact, all the verbs are passive. This means that the first request is not really, “Let us hallow your name.” It’s more, “Father, do what we can’t—make your name holy in all the earth.”
Only God can reveal himself to the world. But if we pray as he taught us, our reverence and care for his name will grow. That’s when we’ll begin to exchange our cheap instruments of self-interest and power for the costly cross of Christ—the only instrument worthy of our Master’s name.
There’s much more to the article and I encourage you to read it from start to finish to make your own impressions of the author’s thoughts and suggestions.
As a scouter, I’ve read a lot of articles over the past week or two asserting that all sorts of horrible things will happen now that the membership issue has been partially addressed. Some of those predictions may be spot on while others may be somewhat hair-brained. Some recommendations I’ve read are downright hypocritical and annoying, too. Slogging through all of these articles, press releases, blog posts has been a challenge, but remembering that my duty to God includes hallowing His name helps provide guideposts to bring my attitude back to center on Him and my mind back to Scriptures.
How about you? Do you recognize the process of “hallowing” God’s name as part of your duty to God, or practicing reverence on a daily basis?