January 3, 2022

What's in a Name?

You, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your Name; do not forsake us!

Jeremiah 14:9
My late grandmother's name is extremely cool. Or, at least, it was during her lifetime. I've never known of another person whose given name was Cosby. But the luster has worn off in recent years, due to the infamy of a certain TV star. The fact that his conviction was overturned did little to restore the dignity of his surname, and (apparently) my grandmother's given name.

I've always liked my surname as well. And, unlike my grandmother's first name, it has gotten cooler with the passage of time. As ecological concerns become more important to the future of the world, the word greening is used more and more frequently to refer to environmental renewal. 

But the true fact of the matter is that, in my culture at least, few of us are responsible for our own names. We are given first names at birth and born into a family with a particular surname. 

So what does it mean to be called a Christian? I have done nothing to earn such a name or such a calling. And yet I am called after the Son of the Most High, and given an inheritance beyond the riches of the world. To be named after the Christ, Messiah, the Anointed of God, is indeed an honor. It points not so much to a past hero but to a hope that is being fulfilled in the present life and will outshine the sun in the world to come.

With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.
 Ephesians 1:18
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
I thank you, O God, that you have given me a name and called me to your side. I thank you, too, that you have called me to serve you in the world. Make me worthy of both the name and the calling.
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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Text selection ©2021 Evangelische Brüder-Unität. All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.