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Sermon Notes, July 17, 2022

For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. At once 16 the one who had received the five talents went off and traded with them and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.

Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray. And the very beginning of the prayer Jesus teaches them asks this: “Hallowed be your name.”

Prayer, from the very first, involves awe for the name of God.

Awe.

I don’t know how many of you have seen the first images that came up this week from the James Webb telescope.  If you haven’t seen them, look them up. Really. They are incredible. The show the universe in living color and wonder- a dance of light and darkness. To look at them is to know that we don’t know everything. To know that we aren’t the center of everything. And to know that there is deep beauty, deep mystery at the center of all of life.

The images are awesome.

God is more so. The God who said, “Let there be light,” not only brought- and brings—all that is into being.  This God became the flesh God created, in Jesus- to save, redeem, creation from all that works to destroy it: Sin. Death. The power of evil.

The God who named all creation good- and who named and rejoiced in human beings as “very good” works full-time- full-time!- for our good.

The God who made stars and galaxies light years and light years away has reached you, in Jesus, and holds you, in Jesus, and names you, yourself—you!—beloved, as we pray, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,”  we ask to remember all of the profound wonder of God- wonder so profound, we uproot life into utter untruth when make that name profane.

To pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name” is to ask to be kept in wonder of God, in both silence and song before God, to be kept in the astounding promise, unfolded in Jesus, that the mystery at the heart of all of life is that of love.

And to pray “Hallowed be Thy Name: is this:

To ask that God’s name be kept holy, awe-some, among us. To ask that our lives, our living, our days, bear witness to the wonder of and in God’s name.

By the grace and call of Jesus, we can do that it many ways. But one of the most powerful is this:

We have each been given talents, gifts, that reflect the glory of the creator.  Our very lives, for a start- But also!

The food we eat. The clothes we wear. The homes we live in. The families we love.

The money in our bank.

The things that our lives have given us to do: Write. Teach. Care. Sing. Cook. Build.

Discover. Think. Plan. Create. Heal.

The things that the Spirit gives us to share: Forgiveness. Mercy. Kindness.  Welcome. Hope.

We hallow God’s name as we not only hear Jesus teach us to pray, but take on his way:

Refusing to hoard what we have been given, whether in fear or unbending self-concern- but giving, sharing, releasing our talents, our gifts, our lives.

Even as the God whose name is made known in Jesus

Does not withhold from us,

But gives us, ever gives us, in that name,

Life.