Lord, Lord, Lord
I wish I had a wonderful hand-out given me some years ago by my dear friend Scott Wells, which I believe was called "What Should We Do With the LORD?" It was a cool etymological breakdown of the term and I always thought it would make for good sermon fodder. I believe it's tucked away at home in my "Sermon Fodder" folder number 167B, which is filed carefully on the floor of my office with folders 1-166. Drat.
For now, from the 20th floor of a condo building in beautiful Chicago, let me just say that I use the LORD because it's bombastic and majestic, powerful and evocative. I love how in certain Bibles the word is always capitalized, so I always use caps, too. The word is a rough translation of the unspeakable name of HaShem (The Name), which we write in the Hebrew letters YHVH and say as "Yaweh" or sometimes "Jehovah." We should always remember that for Jews, the Name was never spoken except by the high priest on the High Holy Days.
For those of us who adore Micah's question, "What doth the LORD require of thee" and try to live by its answer ("do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God") or who hold to their heart Jesus' teaching to love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength, "LORD" becomes a word we like to hear roll around in our mouths, rumble like thunder in our mortal bellies, and sound like drums in our heads.
"LORD" is an invocation. I use it as a UU because it is for me the most powerful, Charles Heston-ish name for the holy that the Western world has produced, and I'll be god-damned if I let the Pat Robertsons of the world use it as a whipping rod against those you and I are called to love and to speak up for, least of all ourselves.
My tradition -- the Unitarian and the Universalist ones, that is - boldy claim that the LORD is a mighty advocate for the poor, a shepherd who wants to make of the warring human nations one people, and a lover who calls us to intimate and even erotic relationship with this world. The LORD makes demands and will not be mocked.
I don't have a personal God in the way that all this LORD stuff would suggest, but I certainly do believe in some impersonal force of moral imperative, by whatever name. I have said many times and in many places that my own sense of what God might be wavers and changes and gets lost on many days. I turn, on those days and on every other day, to Jesus' understanding of the nature of God, and when I can't figure it out, I go by my teacher. Since he uses LORD language, it works for me too.
Of course there was a time when the mere term "God" or "Lord" gave me the hives, almost literally.