Thursday, March 29, 2007

A New Name

Last Saturday I heard a reflection on the Philippians hymn given by a friar about how it is God who gives Jesus his name, a name greater than any other name. This name has to do with Jesus not holding on to his prerogative and humiliating himself until death on a cross. Just by chance, the other day, we were talking about Abram in Genesis, and I it again: the mention of God being the one who gives a man a great name as he promised Abram, and we know he gets a new name, Abraham. Again, the promise of this new name came with an image of stripping oneself. In the case of Abram, he had to leave the land of his father and his kindred behind on a journey of radical trust in God.

This has made me think a lot about my own search for a name and how I go about it. I notice that I am the one who tries to present myself in such a way that others will hold me in good light and think well of me when they hear my name, and I get downtrodden when I think others, at the sound of my name, are disgusted or think ill of me.

And yet God promises to those who are faithful to him no matter the cost a new name. Revelation has two instances of this: "Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it." (2:17) and "The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name." (3:12)

Did I hear that right? Jesus offers us his new name? How so? Could it be that he shares with us his glory and his lordship since he draws us to himself?

And like Abram in Genesis, and Jesus in Philippians, the new name for the churches in Revelation is given after a process of tribulation or of stripping of oneself.

So, this leads me to want to stop searching for other people to recognize me and rather to wait in patience for what the Lord wants of me and to wait for Him not only to show me His will, but also to help me to strip myself so that I can be faithful to Him and also be worthy of a new name, given by the One whose opinion is the only one that should count.

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