148, 149, 150; 114, 115
Amos 6:1-14 1 Thess. 5:1-11 Luke 1:57-68
“…they were going to name him Zechariah. But his mother said, “No.” (Luke 1:59-60)
Zechariah–“Yahweh remembers.” John–“Yahweh is gracious.” Elizabeth–“God is my oath.” behindthename.com
I’m curious about the meaning of names, the meaning made of them with our lives.
I have had the privilege of being at the naming of newborns. When a mother gave birth in the presence of the couple who would adopt her child. With parents who invited their priest to choose a middle name. In a PICU at the emergency baptism of twins.
The names were shared with joy and tears. Names meant to capture hope for new life.
Names are chosen at times other than birth. God renamed our ancestors to match new missions. I have companions who choose new names to affirm identity.
At the center is a person who is becoming someone, as the neighbors intuited of Elizabeth’s child, asking, “What then will this child become?” Whenever named, we are all still in the process of becoming the someones we are called to be.
In John’s naming, God was up to something gracious, confirmed by oath and memory. John became a prophet of God’s grace. Given to a childless couple. For a people who felt forgotten. As a sign of God’s affection and purposes. Yahweh, John’s name and preaching remind us, is indeed gracious.
Holy God, your name means life and love. Let our names and lives come to embody your love to all people. Amen.