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Called by name…

January 16, 2008

1617986742_e657304e06.jpgListen to me, all of you in far-off lands!  The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.  Isaiah 49:1

I have been meditating on this verse as I prepare to preach Sunday.  A recurring theme in the lectionary texts for Sunday is that of being named by God.  I have been reflecting in recent weeks on who I am–the name by which God calls me.  Not just the name my parents gave me at birth, but the deep sense of identity and purpose that comes from interacting with God and God’s people. 

I have updated my About page incorporating some of my sense of identity–how I hear God naming me and how my story fits within the community of God.

Where do we get our name?  Who or what names us?  What do we look to as we seek to understand our true identity?  What story shapes us?  We always interpret our individual stories within a broader communal story?  Within which communal stories do we place our individual story?

These are some of the questions that are perculating as I prepare for Sunday.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2008 8:28 pm

    Interesting thoughts that I will have to think on. I recently came to a realization that I had been living part of my life with my identity being “Minister of Worship and Arts”. Although I have always been the type to point any glory back to God when people have praised the music or my worship leading, I still took that on as an identity. I had no clue until it was taken away and I had to struggle for a few weeks before I realized that it took the place of my identity as a follower of Jesus. As I reflect beck I want to be known as a Jesus follower not a worship leader. I find it no small coincidence that I found your blog about the concept of name and identity. Thanks!

  2. January 16, 2008 9:53 pm

    In the Orthodox Church converts who are baptised are often given a new name, either one of their own choosing, or one chosen for them by their sponsors (does that make us anabaptists?)

    I chose Methodius, because he was a missionary (or perhaps now one should write that “missional”) saint and I was interested in mission. Then when i was ordained as a deacon the bishop called me Stephen, which was my earlier name, and seemed appropriate since St Stephen was one of the first deacons. But a monk I know was recently ordained deacon and got a third name.

  3. pistolpete permalink
    January 18, 2008 5:29 am

    I am struck by the “titles” I acquired when becoming a “Reverend/Pastor/Preacher”. I will accept any of them, but “Reverend” particularly makes me uncomfortable. It sets me apart in some “honoring” way I don’t feel I deserve. “Preacher” seems limiting, since I only actually preach for about 15 minutes each week. I’ve come to enjoy “pastor” for its “pastoral” imagery. I like to think of myself as shepherding the flock. Sometimes I do it more effectively than other times, but I shepherd nonetheless.

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