Posts Tagged ‘true name’

It’s not always what we think it is: true life. Understanding is particularly difficult for the wealthy and, even though I hate to say it, I am among these. Most Americans are. We have abundance and we have fooled ourselves into believing it’s the life, that American dream.

I Timothy 6:19
In this way they [the wealthy] will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Oh, compared to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, I’m not rich. But, compared to the millions of people who live on a dollar a day or who are deeply dependent on welfare and social security subsidies, I am flush. And yet, Paul admonishes his mentee, Timothy, to pay particular attention to the wealthy, who must be reminded often that it is not their goods, but their good works that have value over time. It is their liberal generosity willingness to share with others. . . . not just share money, but time.

The rich become complacent and arrogant more easily.

I can certainly attest to the complacency. If it were not so, I would be manifesting greater service to those in need. It’s not that I don’t care, I just can’t seem to “fit it all in.” How lame.

As a supervisor, I have asked employees who struggle with “best use of their time” to log their days for a couple of weeks and analyze how their time is really spent. Clearly, I need to to do the same thing.

What did I do yesterday that was investment in “true life?” What will I do today?

Sometimes and maybe even more than sometimes, generosity is not about money, but about generosity of the heart. If we give out of true self, like time and authentic connections, that has value too. Can I give bountifully of myself today? Can I stay mindful enough of the inner presence of the Holy Spirit, that I can be open to feel, to hear, to see, to sense, the pain of another, the loss, the hollow places that need an outpouring of love? Can I? Will I?

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John 17:11b-12a
“…protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me….” [Jesus praying]

I read a lot of fantasy and the power of person’s “true name” is peppered throughout these stories. The norm is that there is power in a person’s true name. If someone knows a person’s true name, it’s mystical knowledge and one can compel the person in some way by using the name.

This probably evolved from scripture (and other religious literature), the power of a name. Historically, at least in Jewish culture, God’s name could not even be spoken. Instead, letters were used as a placeholder for the name, YHWH, in writing, and verbally, people extolled God’s characteristics instead: Mighty One, Holy One, etc.

But in this passage, we have Jesus referring to the power of God’s name and the power of the name God gave to Jesus. The primary attributes of these names are protection and the consummation of relationship. God gave Jesus a name and Jesus is giving us a name. In other passages, Jesus encourages us to use His name while praying or making supplications. It’s common practice today to end a prayer with the phrase, “in the name of Jesus.” We are working the promised power of His name. But what does all this really mean? I wish I knew.

In recent years, people have become more and more interested in the meanings of their names. I think that’s a good thing. Parents choose more carefully. And in some cultures, parents even create unique names as gifts to their children.

My name, Irmgarde, means guardian of a small space. When I discovered that meaning (and not the one my mother had always told me), I found myself walking it out with a kind of power. I found a contentment in a name I have found difficult to carry over the years.

When we adopted our teen aged daughter three years ago, one of her requests was that we would “rename” her. She wanted to give us that authority. Her new name would be a sign of her new life. As a family, we decided on Liliana Victoria, a beautiful name. Liliana is a derivative of Lily which is a symbol for purity. And Victoria is the feminine form of victory. Both meanings are powerful for her and she has embraced them.

And yet, there is still that “true name” underneath them all. There is the name that God gave to Jesus and the name Jesus gives to us. When we accept Christ, we are given a new name just like my daughter was given a new name. It’s a mystery. For now, we can use the characteristics, much as we do for God. We are children of God… babe chicks under His wings… His beloved … His bride. Many different relationships are expressed in these descriptions. But there is single name for each of us that makes us ONE with God. That’s the name I seek…. one day I’ll hear that name called and I’ll know.

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