From the Parish Priest

“Hallowed be thy name……”

I wonder how many people  - how many children – know that “Halloween” is the evening before All Saints Day, and that something or some place is “Hallowed” because it is deemed to be holy.

The classic example of this, of course, is in the story of Moses and the burning bush. When Moses turns aside to look at this strange bush which seems to be burning but not consumed, God calls to him, but warns him not to approach too close, because the “place on which you are standing is hallowed ground.” If places can be holy, so can people, and so All Saints Day on 31st  October used to be called “All Hallows” because of the holiness of the saints, and evil spirits and ghosts and the like fly about in fear the “eve” before.

In the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be thy Name…..” suggests that we need and wish to recognise and honour the holiness of God. We should not use his name lightly or wantonly. He above all else deserves respect and worship. ( Indeed “Worship” itself is honouring the “worth” of God.) If we take God for granted, if we abuse his name, we are failing to understand our proper relationship with the creator and sustainer of the universe. I am sure God is not diminished when people use his name in swearing, or just as a lazy expletive. But the person doing that demeans him or her self. Language matters.

I’m not now going to complain about the huge rise in the paraphernalia  available in the shops for Halloween. It wouldn’t make any difference if I did! But I do worry that we are failing to use properly the wonderful language that we have been given. Using God’s name in  vain was the subject of one of the ten commandments, and our world and our dignity are not enhanced by frequent blasphemies.

Peter Wolfenden

 


From the Parish Priest
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