“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” ( Galatians 4:4-7)
There are three possibilities of name focus here; there is the name of Jesus Christ, which is the theme of the “Holy Name of Jesus Day”. Jesus as the Son of God was born about 2000 years and five days ago – according to way we celebrate his birth. The story of Jesus’ naming is told with different gospels stories each lectionary year, and each gospel gives a little different emphasis. The focus of each gospel, including this year’s, is that Jesus was named Jesus with all the meaning and portent involved.
But there is also in this passage God named as “Abba Father”. And that name has meaning and portent also. We call on God not as the stern authority of the Almighty but as the gentle Parent that looks on us with love and that we love as a small child loves a parent with condition or hesitation. The gospels also reflect that is the type of relationship that Jesus had with God. And encourages us to have.
Lastly, there is our name. Not the name our parents gave us or the name we have chosen for ourselves, nor even the name that others have for us. No, this name is the name God knows us as, children of the Lord – called by the Lord God into relationship with the Divine. It is because of Jesus – called as he is – that we call on the Lord Almighty as Abba Father. And that the Lord God calls us children of God. I said before, names are important. Names define and imply relationships. And the relationships we have shape our lives.
We are coming to the end of one year, and readying to enter a new year. May the relationships you have with others be joyful and loving. And may your relationship with the Divine, however you name it and define it, be life giving. Selah!