He said to them,
“When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name.-
The first line in the Lord's prayer in Luke's gospel addresses the creator of the universe and author of life in the most intimate of terms... father. Many people, including me have problems with assigning God a gender. Surely God is bigger than male or female, beyond a human form with human characteristics. We've moved past the "old man in the sky in the white robes" haven't we?
I certainly hope so.
But there it stands- the word, "Father- Abba- Daddy." And whether we translate it from Greek or Aramaic, there is no getting around it. I'm actually glad, for all it's gendered and misgendered problems, that the translators and editors and redactors have left "Father" as it is; because it is so radical for Jesus to have said it!
Before this, no one had dared to pray to or call God their own father. This was not the custom of any rabbis or spiritual teachers of the time. Think of it, when the very name of God was so sacred that it was barely spoken aloud, Jesus called on the Almighty as "Abba," the way a child might call on their "Daddy". Jesus used this very intimate form of address, which must have shocked and even angered the religious community, showing the depth and trust and openness of their relationship. What's more, he taught the disciples to do the same.
You might have another name for God that you use when you pray that draws up the same image as "Father" did for the early Christians. You may not have had a great earthly father, and so the term may even be painful and even damaging for you, especially in envisioning God. That's ok. You can choose any name that evokes feelings of hope and trust for you, even just "God." What name brings to mind comfort, reliance, strength, and at the same time, sacredness?
Sacredness is important, for the second stanza, 'Hallowed be your name,' is another way of saying, "Your name is holy, God." This means not simply that God is holy, but that all things created in God's name and by God's word are also holy, or hallowed. There is a sacredness to all of us, all of our situations, all of creation, that goes back to the Creator.
But they are more than words of praise. In praying "holy is your name" the one who prays commits oneself to acting in a way that shows the holiness of God’s name. That we live according to God’s teaching. In praising God’s name, we are also committing ourselves to honoring God in all we do, all we think, and all we are. Praising God's name, we ask God for the strength to do just that.