The Lord’s Prayer, First Petition
Hallowed be Thy name.
Hallowed be Your name.
How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!The First Petition
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Have you ever had this experience when you are working on a project with someone new? You’re working together and maybe things aren’t going quite as well as they should be. Then the voice of an outside authority scolds, “Who taught you how to do that? You’re doing it all wrong. Tsk, tsk.” Their head shakes in disapproval and you feel embarrassed and ashamed. You think to yourself, “Who did teach me that? Why did they teach me the wrong way?” You feel betrayed by the one who taught you.
Or have you ever known an older sibling to deliberately teach a younger sibling the wrong way to behave? He teaches the younger child to say a word or a joke that is off-color and against house rules so the younger child will get into trouble. We would never do such a thing to our students.
You’re a Lutheran school teacher. You love God’s name and want to keep it holy. That seems like a given. No problem, right? Or at least you think it’s no problem until you read this section of the catechism: “But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us.” Oh my! That seems like a tall order. What if I get it wrong? I know I’m sinful and I mess up all the time, but I don’t want to mess up even worse by teaching contrary to God’s Word, especially to His children. This is what the law does. It terrifies us. But take heart, notice that it doesn’t end there. The next sentence in the catechism brings us great comfort: “Protect us from this, heavenly Father!”
Luther knew we couldn’t keep this exhortation on our own. We would surely need the help of the heavenly Father, the author and perfecter of our faith. One of the great gifts of teaching in a Christian classroom is the knowledge that we are not alone in our task. As we stand in the front of the classroom or gently bend beside the desk of a student, the Holy Spirit walks beside us in all that we do and say. Yes, we are responsible for using our gifts and abilities to do the very best that we can to teach God’s Word and to live lives pleasing to God. But we also know that we cannot live up to that perfection on our own. Praise God that we have a Savior, a most Holy teacher, to cover our sinful name with His own, to die and rise again in our stead.
Yes, it is a tall order to teach in truth and purity. Don’t let that stop you. Know that you do not teach alone.
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