Names are often very important to us. For people who go through the transition process, it is an opportunity to claim a new aspect of who they are – to publicly announce who they intend to be from this point forward. Often we have
special or nicknames for people who are important to us. At the moment I am on a watercolour painting course and there is another Cecilia in the room. It is so rare for both of us to meet another woman with the same name and we are both getting quite a bit of childish glee from saying our own name out loud and have it refer to the other person.
In the Hebrew tradition, it was thought if you knew someone’s name, you had power over them. When Moses encounters God through the burning bush, he asks who is
talking with him. God replies “I am that I am”. Down through time, people have tried to describe God, to give God a name that reflects the Divine one that they encounter.
One of the exercises that we do very early on in the “Creating a Life that Matters” course is to examine the names that we have been taught for God – to dismiss the
ones that we do not recognise and to claim ones that describe that God that we know and love. This is often a useful activity, as it helps course participants to really be thoughtful about how they see God and what old images or labels of God they need to get rid of.
Scripture has many different names for God – as the people who wrote them tried to capture the essence of the Divine. Perhaps this week, it is something we could try – thinking up new names for the One who loves us.
What’s in a name?
Often something very powerful.