Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wholly Holy

I've been thinking a lot about this post this afternoon. Earlier today, I read a blog written by a friend. I've known her since she was in elementary school, and the little girl I loved has also become a woman I admire, a fellow 'being saved one' who is also one of the most creative people I've ever met. So creative she sometimes doesn't walk straight, but that's to be expected for such an artistic soul. Anyway, E was sitting beside me on the couch this afternoon and said, "You might want to read Little Birdie Storybook's blog today (well, she actually called her by name, but...)." Within the first sentence, I knew B was writing about me. And the things she said were so complimentary, so encouraging, I was crying by the end, and feeling wholly humbled. Though it's unlikely (I do know myself, after all!) that I am anywhere close to what she thinks I am, I also recognize that I want to be. I want to be that amazing, want to be that inspiring, want to be...well, glorified in someone's life, so to speak--and I'm very grateful that she thinks, and would say, such amazing things about me. (In fact, I am adding her blog to my blog list, because she's really worth reading and, after all, because...well, you know.)

But....the very first petition in the Lord's prayer addresses this. "Hallowed be your name." Hallow means to keep holy. So this petition is our asking Him to keep Himself holy. But God already is Holy. Are we asking Him to make Himself what He already is? Would Jesus be that redundant? Not exactly. At least not for His sake. This petition is asking Him to make Himself first and Holy in our lives. The first of the 10 commandments says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," and Jesus reinforces this first command by telling us to pray for Him to do what He commands of us. "Father, be God in my life." That's what this is saying.

There are many times when I am so overwhelmed by great needs, my own or others, that I lose sight of who God is. And times, like today, when it's easy to think I'm better, more important, more amazing than I really am. So this petition first of all, is asking Him to keep me from those things that do not glorify Him. It's in direct contrast to the world's notion of 'I'm so great.' We live in a world that tells us that we have the right to be glorified, famous, honored for ourselves. But Jesus tells us to ask God, "Hallowed be YOUR Name, Father." We are called to die to ourselves. This doesn't mean that we aren't thankful for words, like the words of my friend. But it definitely means putting those words into perspective, recognizing that the good that we do is not ourselves, but Him. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2: 9-10

This petition is also about Us, not just me. What I mean that together we ask God to glorify Himself in our midst. The Lord's prayer begins "Our Father," not "My Father." Anything we pray should--ought to--have communal consequences. If He is to be honored in me, He must also be honored in the community. Any good that I do--His Spirit in me--has implications for the rest of the Body. So, be Holy in me, and Holy in us. Wholly Holy.


Little Birdie Storybook said...

Your blog has meant a great deal to me these past weeks. I'm pretty sure God has been working through your sharing to pull me out of myself. I should be able to hear Him calling me from my self-involvement, but when His words fall on very-nearly-deaf ears, He reaches out to me in ways that are easier for me to perceive. In this case, it's through human connection. Forgetting myself a moment as I read your blog, I suddenly encounter God. It's like I woke up or started breathing suddenly. Anyway, that's what happened when I was writing my blog this evening. I was going to talk about what I've been going through lately (and I probably still need to in coming days), but I was so knotted up in myself, I was losing oxygen spiritually. Then, all of the sudden, before I'd gotten five sentences out, God set me on a tangent that allowed me to express my love for someone else, and His. It let the light in. Also, I don't remember having had the opportunity before this to let you know how I've thought of you over the years. Of course, I would never want to burden you with false perfection. Love that only extends to and understands that which is perfect is hardly love at all. I know we live in the reality of our fallen-ness, but each of us was created with such magnificent intent. And, redeemed as we are, we cannot help but be creatures of beauty. We were fashioned after the very image of God. It is just as vital, then, to seek out and understand the remarkable things for which a soul was made... to see how he/she is a unique reflection of God's nature. Thank you again for your testimony. In full view of reality, I stand by mine. =)
By the way, I have lots of ground/earth/dirt imagery to support my choice of codename. I'll get into it in one of my next blog-style blogs. Either way, it's still better than mother-goose, right?

jeskmom said...

We all have nearly deaf ears, don't you think? That's why God eventually had to come Himself. But we're hard of hearing, and practically blind...or maybe more than blind, because we tend to look at everything through the lenses of our own selfishness. What a long, hard struggle it is to get over ourselves.
And I know all about the difficulty in breathing spiritually...January has been the coldest month. Like the very air of the Spirit is freezing around my nostrils before I can take a breath. That's why it's so great to write it all out. It's how we work out our faith. I try--harder than you know--to be as honest as I can about that...as the only way I know to surrender, and glorify Him. Does that make sense?
Just so you know, I see you too. Always have. Not just as someone older, a friend of your parents, but because there's something akin in us. You just make sense to me.

I love the imagery of ground, earth, always think in terms of what is organic, but somehow that label made me feel a little bit like a hippy-mother wearing peasant skirts with a long, dirty (get it, dirt!) braid down my back.