Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012.01.01 Holy Naming

It’s New Year’s Day. It’s also the Christian feast of the Holy Name.

Some Christians think there is only one holy name, and that it’s the name of Jesus. They’re wrong.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I love Jesus, both the holy man of Nazareth with the ribald humor and the buoying laugh and also the one the Church elevates to messiah, one sent by Godde to liberate and bring the good news that what?.......we’re saved.

But then you look around and guess what?... we’re not saved or it doesn’t look that way with all the mess of our lives and all the messiness and corruption in the world.

Salvation isn’t rescue it’s hope. And hope that is seen isn’t hope.

Scripture makes a big deal of God’s naming us each one and all, a way to acknowledge each one’s special place in the Heart of Love.

So who named you? My dad named me LYnda because he wanted to call me Lyn which he did. He only called me Lynda when he was seriously pissed off, like when he hollered me back inside as I was scampering across our lawn while sneaking out to meet my boyfriend who waited in the darkened getaway car down the street.

The sound of my whole name caught my attention. I was saved from teenage sex, which frankly was far more threatening than my father’s wrath.

Just his calling me by my whole name was enough to make me remember he cared about me, for better or worse.

Or . . . he’d call me by my full name when he “got me.”

(Our little granddaughter Phoebe, three, recently commented about her Uncle Robbie who’d given her a large empty cardboard box to play with, “That Uncle Robbie, he really gets me!”)

Dad “got me” when I told him I wanted to be a priest and then went quickly into a long awkward and inadequate explanation of something I couldn’t explain. He said “It’s OK Lynda. I understand.”

How do you name yourself? How do you name God?

God names us, and in so doing "gets" us, than tries like hell to save us from harm, failing almost every time but still trying.

Now that’s holy naming. Listen and hope.