This is the second installment of The Lord’s Prayer series. I wrote these little parables in an effort to help my kids understand some of the precepts of the Lord’s Prayer. Turns out writing these have helped me probably more than my kids!
This one Focuses on, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’
Scipio sat in a patch of sunlight on the bear skin rug in his new bedroom, burying his fingers in the thick fur of the hide and absorbing the warmth of the morning sun.
It was the softest and warmest and safest he had ever felt in his 9 short years, and he wanted it to last forever.
“Scipio?” a friendly voice called.
Scipio grinned, it was Marcus, his advocate, the one who found him nearly dead in a rubbish strewn back alley only a month ago.
“Marcus!” Scipio leapt up and ran to Marcus, throwing his arms around his torso. Scipio loved Marcus more than anyone in the world. Not only did he save his life and had shown him compassion that he had never known, but he advocated for him to the King, asking that the King would adopt him like he done for other children Marcus had found on the streets. Marcus was also kind, wise, and strong – but most of all, he made Scipio feel safe.
He was patient with him too, always making extra time to help him adjust to his new life. He often accompanied Scipio to his lessons where he was taught with the other adopted children how to read, learn sums and ancient history. Marcus knew that Scipio was frightened of meeting new people, especially adults, and would stay with him until his fears subsided – which was getting less and less these days.
Marcus, simply, was the best friend he had ever had.
“Is it time for my lessons, Marcus?”
Marcus’ eyes twinkled with a secret, “Not today, Scipi.”
Scipio tilted his head, wondering what he meant.
“Today we are going to finally meet the King,” Marcus added.
Scipio’s mouth went dry. He was terrified of meeting the King. He knew he should be thankful to the King for adopting him, and he was. But his fear of him had outgrown his thankfulness.
The older children of the King often told stories of how the King had a hidden lever on his throne and if anyone offended him in the slightest, he would pull the lever and the floor would open into a giant pit of venomous king cobras, dropping the offending person into the snakes before closing over them and sealing their doom. What if the King didn’t like him? What if he offended him on accident? He didn’t want to meet the King. The thought of meeting the King terrified him more than the thought of having to go live out on the streets again.
Marcus bent a little to look him in the eye. “What is it, Scipi? Don’t you feel well?”
Scipio shook his head. He didn’t feel good at all. The porridge he had for breakfast suddenly wasn’t sitting so well.
Marcus put a cool hand on his forehead. “You don’t feel feverish, what else could it be?”
Scipio swallowed, hesitating. He and Marcus had always told each other the truth and there were no secrets between them – which was why they were best friends. Finally, he decided to tell Marcus what was really bothering him.
“I’m afraid of the King and I don’t want to meet him.”
“What are you afraid of, Scipi? Aren’t you thankful for all the things the King has done for you?”
“I am thankful, but I’m afraid that he wont like me and I’ll displease him somehow and that…,” Scipio swallowed, ‘And that he’ll throw me to the snakes.”
Marcus blinked and turned his head quickly as if trying to hide a chuckle. “Throw you to the snakes! Wherever did you get that idea?”
“When I was playing in the courtyard some of the older children told us how the King had a secret lever on his throne and if anyone displeased him he would pull the lever and a pit of snakes would open up and the person would fall in never to be seen again.”
Marcus scratched his nose thoughtfully. “Well, I could see why you would be afraid after hearing a story like that. But why would the King go to all the trouble of adopting you only to throw you into a pit of snakes?”
Scipio shrugged. Who knew why adults did anything, all they seemed to be capable of doing in Scipio’s short life was astounding acts of cruelty – except for Marcus, of course. And the only father he had ever known was a drunk who beat him before finally abandoning him to the streets when he was only four years old.
Marcus sighed, bending low and setting his hands on the boy’s shoulders, “I assure you, the King isn’t like all the other adults you met.”
Chewing his lip, he returned Marcus’s look. He wanted to believe him with all his heart, but his instincts wouldn’t let him. He wistfully thought what it would be like if Marcus adopted him. He imagined he would be happier than any boy in the whole world. He didn’t care if Marcus was only a poor servant of the King, all he wanted was to be safe and to be loved. The joy of the thought swelled within him, to the point it misted his eyes and he couldn’t keep it in any longer.
“Marcus, couldn’t you adopt me?”
For the first time he saw his friend at a loss for words and the room became terribly quiet. Had he said the wrong thing? Did Marcus not want to adopt him? Maybe he misunderstood Marcus kindness and Marcus didn’t really love him as much as he assumed he did. Scipio felt his bottom lip tremble at this unbearable thought. He couldn’t bring himself to look up a Marcus now and instead stared at the floor as the silence grew.
“Scipio,” Marcus finally said, his voice a little thicker than before, “It’s time to meet the King. I promise, you have nothing to fear. I won’t leave you alone and I’ll be in the room with you the whole time.”
Scipio nodded, assured that Marcus would be there, but terrified of this distant, newly adopted father.
Marcus put an assuring arm around Scipio’s shoulder and led him to the King’s apartments. Once inside, they were met by two of the King’s servants who greeted them with warm smiles.
“Welcome, Scipio,” one of them said, “are you ready to meet the King?”
Scipio found Marcus’ hand and gripped it tightly. He nodded.
Marcus smiled at the boy before letting go of his hand and stepping in front of him to join the King’s servants.
Scipio’s breathing quickened, this was it, he would finally have to face the King.
One of the servants produced a long flowing robe of scarlet and placed it on Marcus’ shoulders, and bowed. The other took a laurel wreath made of pure gold and placed it on Marcus’ head and bowed before stepping away.
The boy blinked, confused. What were they doing? And why was Marcus letting them put the King’s robe and crown on him? Wasn’t that treason?
As Scipio stared at Marcus, he noticed something about his friend he had never noticed before. He was…regal. He seemed taller, and bigger than before, his presence almost filling the room. He looked just like a King, but it was still Marcus, too.
Then he finally understood. Marcus was the King.
Scipio fell on his knees before him, not out of reverence or fear, but out of something better – indescribable love.
Marcus rushed to the boy and pulled him close in an embrace. Scipio felt the King’s bearded cheek against his and he noticed it was damp with tears. The King whispered in the boy’s ear with a thick voice, “Yes, Scipi, I will adopt you. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Scipio embraced his advocate, his best friend, his King and now, amazingly, his Father as tight as he could, afraid somehow that Marcus would slip out of his grip if he didn’t hold him tight enough. Then he found himself crying and laughing all at the same time.
“You tricked me,” he finally said, wiping the tears streaming from his face.
“I did, didn’t I?” Marcus, the King chuckled. “But do you understand why?”
Scipio nodded. He did understand, and it made him love his Father that much more.
Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
This story was an effort to explain the type of Holiness that Jesus is ascribing to the Father. I had always had the impression that it meant, begrudgingly, ‘Yes, God is your Father – BUT, watch it! don’t get too comfortable! He is still SUPER holy, you know!’
But is that what it really means? As if upon launching ourselves happily into the lap of God only to realize we’re about to land on a glowing hot bed of coals!
Hallowed or Holy, also means something else besides a consuming fire. In the Hebrew, the word for Holy is “Qadosh” which literally means “to be set apart for a special purpose.”
And according to Webster’s, Holy also means, “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.”
So, when we read, ‘Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name,’ I think the precept Jesus was trying to get across was –
“He is your Dad, holy, set apart, worthy of your love and devotion, unlike earthly dads because He is perfect in goodness and righteousness.”
It is meant to assure our welcome into the throne room of God, not make us second guess it.
For many of you this is nothing new – but, it turns out I’m thick-headed, and it took God some time to get this through to me! 🙂
‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.’