The Second Commandment: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” What does this mean? “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” (The Small Catechism)
Imagine if the richest, most powerful person in the whole world adopted you, giving you his family name. All that was his was now yours to inherit. Wouldn't that be something?
Admit it. We have all fantasized about something like that happening to us, winning the lottery, striking it rich. We've all fantasized about seeing our own name in lights, on the lips of others. Ever wondered, though, why we don't fantasize as often about God's holy Name, given us in Holy Baptism? Are our hearts really that cold? That black? That far from God and His ways? The law says: Yes, they are.
The law condemns us and our hearts. We do not see God’s name as the great treasure it is, because we do not see God as the great treasure He is. It's why our days, our moments, our mornings and our nights are so often lacking in prayer. The Second Commandment teaches us to pray, “Hallowed be Thy name.” It also teaches us to pray, “And forgive us our trespasses!”
Does He? The Name of Jesus, nailed to the cross; the Name of Jesus, washed over you in your Baptism; placed into your ears by God's Word; spoken over you by your pastor in the Absolution and fed into you at the Supper—this name tells you: Yes, He does. God forgives all your sins against the Second Commandment. And the First. And the Third. Against all ten of them. So good is God's Name for you, in Jesus.
Take some time today to dream a little about God's name. After all, what belongs to God now belongs to you. For God has adopted you, giving you the family name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ponder what all that means. It means your sins are forgiven. It means heaven and Earth now belong to you. It means there's no such thing as luck, fate, or chance. For you have a Father, now, a Name in heaven who loves you and governs all things for your good. It's all there, for you, in His Name.
“'Do not My holy name disgrace, Do not My Word of truth debase. Praise only that as good and true Which I Myself say and do.' Have mercy, Lord!” (LSB #581 st.3)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.