The Power of Naming

We had a guest today! My friend Bryan brought the Good News of outdoor ministries to our community. It was a wonderful sermon with intellectual fervor, relevant imagery and a message that was powerful for campers and those that are no longer able to camp. It was awesome.

Bryan offered the Benediction as we concluded the chapel service this morning. And though it is a paraphrase from the recesses of my foggy sprung ahead brain, I offer his words reflecting upon the imagery of the Gospel Lesson:

Go forth from this place hearing the call of God to "Come out"
Not with Lazarus' name -- but your own name. Come out!
There is work to be done.

I loved the reminder that there is work to do. I really relished in this. I thought that this was what was powerful in these words until I settled in my chair upon the chancel for the next service.

Not with Lazarus' name -- but your own name.

In the chapel service, I had shared the joys and concerns with the gathered. I had listed off the concerns for those in the hospital and raised joy for those that are healing. These are prayers that my colleague collects. He keeps the master prayer list - and I often don't find what they are until Sunday morning. So it was today.

I read the final joy for a new birth. A child that was born to a daughter of a staff member. This is a staff person I adore. She is a church member that I cherish. She is one of my favorites (and yes, I have favorites). But, when I read this joy, I had not yet read to whom this child was related. I only knew her name because she was given my name. She was born on Thursday -- and she was given my name. It took approximately 45 minutes for this to sink in to my sprung ahead brain.

This beloved staff member, church member and new grandmother was not in church today. I couldn't see her face in the congregation to ask how they had decided upon this name. I only knew that this child was given my name. I have never met her parents. It is not a tribute to me -- and yet, I cannot escape the thought that this child will forever be connected to me. This child was given our unique name. This child was given this name because I came into her grandmother's life. I am in complete and total awe at what God calls us out to do.

There is such power in naming. There is such power in the names that we give each other and the names that we give the feelings we have. And yet, I have no idea what to call this emotion. God has called me with my own name. Come out!


LittleMary said...

this post rocks! i love your name, very cool.

more cows than people said...

very, very cool. thanks.