Friday, January 23, 2015

A New Name

Scripture Texts: Genesis 17; Romans 4:7-13; Colossians 2:11-13

To celebrate the faith God had seen in Abram and Sarai a new name was given to each of them. Their new names were given because they were now new people, they were people of the promise. This is not the last time in the Scriptures that God gives someone a new name. Jacob becomes Israel. Simon becomes Peter. Saul becomes Paul. For each of the people who had their name changed it was in connection with establishing faith in God in a new and deeper way.

It is not as often that we change our names here in the United States when we become a follower of Jesus. There are places in our world where that happens still today. We should say that we do not change our birth names for the most part. What is changed is our name as God sees it. When we place our faith in God and accept the loving grace of Jesus Christ through the forgiveness of the cross, we get a new name. No longer are we called sinner but we are called redeemed. We are called forgiven, free and whole. No matter what our past holds when we come to Jesus we are given the name beloved child of God.

Before we were married there were several conversations about our past. Much of the discussion about the past was not new as we had shared many of the stories before. There were a few stories or moments from our past that we approached with some fear and anxiety. We jumped in and had the conversations in full, and began our marriage with a clear understanding of the past that brought us to that point. Let's just say that not everything in our pasts was something that we were always proud of. We can also say that our past was not what defined us then and it is not what defines us now. We both had received a new name from God.

Standing at the altar it seemed that Sarah was the one who was getting a new name. We had hours of standing in lines and forms that were completed to prove that a name change was taking place. What might not have been as readily apparent was the fact that we were both getting a new name. From that day forward we were taking on the name of married. At that point we stood as beloved of God and of each other for all eternity.

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