Feast of the Name of Jesus
January 1, 2017
“What’s in a name?” we ask. “Everything!” is the answer.
It is in the name that the nature of a person, a place or a business is known and is being known. People spend hours, or days even, just thinking of one “perfect” name. Then they invest precious years building the reputation behind that name, and spend their resources protecting that very name. Many names have become synonymous with something of value; these have become like monuments through time, with a solid reputation behind them.
The conviction may not be as strong today, but once it was believed that there is power behind a name. The power is so potent that it can influence minds, move hearts and change a life. This is the reason why names are important to God, and the Bible -- from Genesis to Revelation -- is replete with examples of this conviction. It is through His Names that God reveals Himself to people across continents and generations, through ages and epochs. He is Elohim the Mighty One with plural Natures, the Great I Am. When we lack, He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. When we are sick, He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals. When there is tempest all around, He is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. When we are in need of justice, He is Jehovah Shaphat, the Lord is judge. When we feel alone, He is Immanuel, God with us.
In the same manner, it is through our names that God’s work is revealed, or the news of His doings are made known and spread.
I was coming to full term with my first pregnancy on July 31, 1994, the day Christian Life Fellowship was accepted into the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Churches (ICCEC). Gary and I had yet to agree on the name of our firstborn. During the Eucharistic service at the PICC, the late Patriarch Randolph Adler prophesied, saying: “Today, the courts of heaven are in session and God has heard your prayers.” The minute he said this, God audibly whispered into my heart: “You shall name your son, Samuel, for I have heard your prayers.” “Lord, if this is from you,” I humbly replied, “please impress it upon Gary’s heart.”
After the service, while the crew from the Creative Arts were dismantling the stage, Gary came up to check on me. I asked him: “What do you think of the name, Samuel?” And he responded, “It is the name I heard from the Lord also.” And so it was.
Today, each of our four children’s names: Samuel David, Isabella Pearl, Blessie Jennine, and Josephine Natalie, are monuments and testimonies to God’s providential work in our family, and in the church He has called us to serve.
Marilie F. Thurman