Quick sermon - God's value in names
I speak in the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Ghost - Amen
How important is your name to you,
Do you like the name that your parents gave you?
Do you in fact use the name given to you or have you decided on using your middle name, like our beloved Bishop (D. Ralph Spence)
Or perhaps a nick name or your initials
I have had a few friends that I have to think about what their real name is, because I am so used to calling them by something else.
And why is that important?
Shakespeare wrote - A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet
But in fact names are very important
I started out today sermon time by praying in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost
I called upon the very name of God as we started our thoughts and reflections on God’s word
Names provide identity
Names reveal our hopes and desires
Now my name is Paul Matthew Tinker
Tinker because that, of course, is my family name
My parent’s named me: Paul after St. Paul
And Matthew after the gospel writer and disciple
My parent’s didn’t know how I would turn out, but they had hopes and gave me names that reflect their ideals
I have four kids and before they were born Kelly and I named them
Madison Debra Anne
Debra & Anne being the two grandmas
And Madison because we like the name and it is a derivative of Matthew, my middle name
Jackson David Gary
David & Gary again for the two grandpas
And Jack, because to us Jack was a name that we associated with being a friend and buddy - extended to Jackson for a more formal alternative
Grace Lisa Elizabeth
Lisa after Kelly’s sister, and Elizabeth for two great grandmas
Grace because we believed her to be a gift from God
Now naming our baby, was the most difficult for me, Kelly knew all along, but I didn’t, until I started to look at the meanings of names
When I looked into the meanings of our first three, the decision became clear:
Madison - Derived from Matthew 'gift of God'
Jackson - Based on John - God has been gracious; has shown favor.
Grace - from the Latin 'gratia', meaning God's favor.
So the names that Kelly had all along - Elizabeth or Matthew were perfect
- as they both mean - Gift of the Lord
We were blessed with a beautiful baby boy - a true gift from God
Before any of our kids were born, before they were even in their mother’s womb, we, their parent had hopes and ideals for them
How much more must God have for each of us…
Now we connect to our Gospel today
- it is about many things,
But one thing that it is definitely about; is the value God placed in names
For the last of the Old Testament style prophets, the last prophet to make straight a path for the coming of the Lord in the Flesh,
Emmanuel - God’s amongst Us
God instructed Zechariah to go against all Hebrew traditions and to name the child - John
Which means - Jehovah has been gracious; has shown favor
In John’s names we have the Hope and desires of God of what John is to be
A miracle child of Zechariah and Elizabeth - two devote Jews well past their prime parenting age - to them is given a child to be gracious and show favour to all humanity
Have you ever wondered why John the Baptism plays such a significant role in our Christian year?
John’s story is relatively short in the bible
Yet we hear it before Christmas, in Advent
During lent, each of the three years of the lectionary, with out fail
And we celebrate it now in the summer, six months before Christmas
Well, it is precisely because of what John represents; that He is so pivotal
In John we have the culmination of all the prophets
All their messages reaching a climatic moment in the message from John
All the those that have spoken a message from God, for God
In John we have the message of the coming of the saviour of world
and as indicated by his name
We hear the message of God being gracious to the whole world
Once Zechariah had written “His name is John.” all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
John is so pivitoal and important to our Christian calendar that he comes up significantly three times in the year because…
His role is our role
We are all called, in some shape or form, to proclaim the coming of the Lord
Remember the parting words of our Lord - recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 just before his ascension
Jesus came to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end."
You must go
I am always with you
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit - Amen