#AdventBookClub day 5: Father, hallowed be Your Name

Evelyn Underhill’s writing about prayer was what first attracted me to her work, so it was a delight to read today’s extract from her commentary on the Lord’s Prayer. Her emphasis on adoration as the focus and purpose of prayer is striking here. “The reason for the Church’s existence is the more perfect hallowing of the Name” – I wonder what sort of church we would be if we lived as if that were true? If the hallowing of God’s name were our primary focus – rather than, say, spreading the gospel, or serving the poor – I wonder how that would effect the way we engage in those other, very necessary tasks, not for their own sake, but for the sake of hallowing God’s name?

It would be a mistake to suggest that Underhill’s emphasis on prayer, worship and adoration is at the expense of more practical expressions of faith. She is clear both that adoration and action are intimately related, and what that relationship should be: “wholehearted adoration is the only real preparation for right action.” In this Advent season, we are invited to reflect again on God’s coming among us, and our response to that, how our deep longing of God gives impetus to the action of our lives.

The hallowing of God’s name is to be found in the small, the ordinary, the unremarkable, in our responses to our encounter with the world around us, as well as more obvious encounters with God. It has its roots in our perpetual longing and desire for God – a very suitable theme for Advent. Underhill’s “God has created our craving for himself alone” contains echoes of St Augustine’s “Oh God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you”. Advent restlessness calls us into prayer, into desire for God by and for whom we are created.

This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading ‘Music of Eternity: meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill’ by Robyn Wrigley-Carr. Join the conversation in the Facebook group, or by following the hashtag on Twitter.

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