Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What's in a Name?

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). John 1:35-42

I am named Carol Joy after my mother's sister and because I was born on Christmas Eve.  There have been times when I have enjoyed my name and other times when I haven't, especially during my teen years. Most Indigenous tribes have traditions about naming, and a person might find themselves with several names in a given lifetime. Names can tie us down to a certain historical period or a family. A name can be trouble or gift depending upon the circumstances we face.

The people who followed Jesus were looking for many things.  He opened his life to them, not separating himself from them but inviting and including, making room for their needs and insights. He gave Simon a new name which means rock. He saw in him the potential of a solid, strong leader even though there were days when he was none of those things. He saw him grounded and faithful, even though some days he would be sorely tested.

Today, I ask God to help me be grounded and faithful, despite the many challenges before me. May we all know that each has been called by name, and loved before our very first breath. May we be grounded and solid, despite all the weather and changes which are thrown at us.

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