Posts Tagged ‘names’

O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your aid we can do no good thing. Grant us the help of Your grace that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

The Gospel reading appointed for this day in the Daily Lectionary of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is  St. Luke 16: 19-31, The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  The reflection below is by Pr. Scott Murray in his excellent devotional A Year with the Church Fathers:  Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year.

After making a major donation, the rich often have the privilege of naming rights. For example, if they are giving the founding donation, the foundation bears their name. Their name is remembered in connection with the donation as long as the foundation exists. The name of a rich person is used much in the world. He or she is known and remembered for any number of reasons, some good and some not so good. In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, God reverses the world’s order. Lazarus is named. The rich man is not. Our Father has written the name of Lazarus in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8). While the rich man’s name was known in the world, tossed about by everyone who wanted to seem to be someone, Lazarus was unknown. He was “that beggar.”

How God turns the tables! He names the beggar and sends away the rich empty (Luke1:53). Here God has the naming rights, not us. He has named us with deep affection and with full result. When He calls us by name,

we are His (Isaiah 43:1). We are what He says we are. He never goes back on His word to us. We are not like the local sports arena that is named this one day and that the next. His naming rights are an absolute commitment to us. The world looks at us as spiritual beggars and incompetents, because our name is not thrown about in the marketplace. We may plead the truth of the world’s name. “We are beggars. This is true,” as Martin Luther confessed on his deathbed. But we are beggars in the hands of a gracious God for the sake of Christ. This poverty cannot be any richer. This beggary cannot be any better fed. This naming cannot be any more illustrious. Our names have been given and written by God.

Post-Script:  We buy into the fame of the name and are drawn to names like Buffet, Gates, Obama, etc., etc. ad nauseum.  This is as old as Babel: “…let us make a name for ourselves…” (Genesis 11: 4)    In the next chapter in Genesis, the LORD calls a  pagan, Abram and said to him:  “I will bless you and make your name great…”  (Genesis 12: 2) The LORD God has the naming rights!  “How God turns the tables!” Indeed!

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Jesu is in my heart, his sacred name
Is deeply carved there: but th’other week
A great affliction broke the little frame,
Ev’n all to pieces: which I went to seek:
And first I found the corner, where was J,
After, where ES, and next where U was graved,
When I had got these parcels, instantly
I sat me down to spell them, and perceived
That to my broken heart he was I ease you,
                                And to the whole is J E S U

(Poem (1633)  by Fr. George Herbert

   Readings:  Numbers 6: 22-27;  Psalm 8;  Galatians 3: 23-29;  St. Luke 2: 21 (also read, Philippians 2: 1-11)

       Eight days ago was Christ Mass, December 25th.  This is the covenant the Lord established with Abraham and his descendants according to the flesh: “He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations…” Genesis 17:12  Jesus was born thoroughly “…under the Law”:  “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…”  Galatians 4:3-5  This is when the Lord’s Blood was first spilled. 

His infant body now
Begins the cross to feel:
Those precious drops of blood that flow
For death the Victim seal.

His Blood is the seal of His Name.  The Name of Jesus literally means:  “God saves”.  On this day of His circumcision Joseph and Mary publically announced the Name the messenger of God gave to Mary. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-32

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
(William Shakespeare)

Now that is good romantic stuff but I would rather name a daughter “Rose” than “Skunk” even though she would smell as sweet!  Names matter. They identify who one is.  I would dare say you would probably not buy designer clothes with the name, Ralph Lifschitz on it!  But when Mr. Lischitz changed his surname to “Lauren”, as in, Ralph Lauren, it sounded a whole lot better!   wikipedia: Ralph Lauren  Names also matter to the Lord in His Scriptures.  His Name we can count on.  “He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3   Many times the Lord tells us why He does what He does, not for my name’s sake or yours, but His.  His Name is faithfulness.  He stands behind it.  A name you can trust.  This is a most fitting way to begin the calendar New Year when all other names, of government, business, stardom etc. fail.  Behind His Name is His Body and Blood.  He has made you His own by naming you in your baptism. 

Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf.  Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts maybe be made pure from all sins, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

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