“What’s in a name?” says Juliet Capulet famously in a Shakespeare play.
Actually, names carry a lot of significance.
I was once the pastor of a congregation called Faith Church. One day the secretary answered the phone. A very cheery voice on the other end of the line said, “Hello! Is Miss or Mrs. Faith Church there?”
The scene that followed was hilarious, as the secretary tried to explain to the telemarketer that Faith was a church and not a person. It was reminiscent of the old Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on first?!”
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What’s in a name? According to one of my extended-family traditions, first-born sons were always named Justus. I myself might be named Justus, if my grandmother hadn’t changed the tradition. She didn’t call my father Justus, holding that name back until her second son was born. Instead, she named my father after the first two men who had asked for her hand in marriage. Evidently, she wanted Grandpa to remember she’d had other choices for a husband.
Psalm 8 proclaims that God’s name is “majestic over all the earth!” We are in awe of the God who orchestrates solar eclipses and other heavenly wonders. Yet the Psalm affirms that God is also mindful of each one of us, seeing us as little less than angels. When God speaks your name, God must be in awe!
What’s in a name? A relationship is in every name we speak, a relationship with all that is holy.
Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul