What's in a Name?
I have always had a fascination with the names of God. I mean, there are quite a few of them: 948 names and titles of God are spread throughout the Bible.
A few we are easily familiar with. El Shaddai means “God Almighty” and speaks to God’s ultimate power over all. Elohim means “Creator, mighty and strong.” From the Bible’s first sentence, the nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence. Yahweh-Joreh means “the Lord will provide”, and is the name promised by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
And for me, every name was and is a promise of who God was, is and will continue to be. The names of God have become a foundation in my faith because they remind me He is not only “the Lord who heals” (Yahweh-Rapha) but also Yahweh-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” and many more.
I still remember the moment, when after Hope was born, we were ready to leave the hospital and a nurse came into the room with a form and asked us, “So what is her name?” Honestly it wasn’t til that very moment that I realized that the name we gave our daughter would carry her for the rest of her life. Up to this point it was all hypotheticals, ideas we could still change with our moods or suggestions from family. Our decision would represent her for the rest of her life. In an instant, it became a very important decision.
Tish Harrison Warren has a chapter in her book subtitled, Passing the peace and the everyday work of shalom. She describes how in the church service she attends there is always a time set apart to turn to each other and say, ‘“Peace of Christ to you” or perhaps “Peace of the Lord” or “Hey” or “My name is Jim.” Kids run around the sanctuary. People talk. It’s loud...The gregarious mingle and laugh...”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I was picturing Grace as I read this: hugs being given, introductions being made, parents walking into the sanctuary after dropping off their kids, maybe carrying a fresh cup of coffee, ready to take a seat and then leaning into the presence of God.
This practice of passing the peace has been part of Christian worship since the dawn of the church. It was done with intent and purpose and often used as a time for reconciliation within the body.
We are all craving peace.
And within our core, it is a Shalom peace,
inspired by God.
Then there is Yahweh-Shalom, which means “the Lord our peace;” a name of God, also with intent and purpose and perhaps most of all, a promise.
Warren writes, “In the end, this practice each Sunday - the passing of peace - is a prayer. We are asking that God would do something we cannot, so that we can extend peace, not of our own making, but of Christ’s...”
And again I thought of Grace. I pictured our community of searching believers and wondered of God’s intent for us when we, with love, pass peace to each other. I saw hands being shaken with shared words of life and encouragement, and words with anointing because they are a promise of God.
We are all craving peace. And within our core, it is a Shalom peace, inspired by God.
And may the Lord our peace envelop you with His understanding, as we knowingly extend His peace to each other. He is indeed with us and we are part of His peace.
Shalom, dear friends
Jane really likes to build houses for families in critical need. Having travelled the world for over 30 years, working in areas devastated by natural disasters as well as war, her perspective on helping others is personal. Her advice on how to screw up your kids is this: personally show them how others live, give them an opportunity to help, and it will never leave them. They will forever think beyond themselves...it will be an itch that is never fully scratched.