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Bible Book: Isaiah / Jesaja
Chapter: 61
Verse: 10
Verse (to): 11

Selected verses: Isaiah 61:10-62:3 and Galatians 4:4-7

A very catchy advertisement used the popular song of The Ting Tings, That’s not my name, to sell soft drinks. Somehow the appeal to find one’s name on a tin of soda struck a chord with many who sang along:

They call me Stacey

 

They call me her

 

They call me Jane

 

That’s not my name!

That’s not my name!

But behind the catchy phrases of this advertisement the lyrics also includes:

So alone all the time … with everything considered they forget my name …

What then is in a name?

I recall a Channels of Hope facilitator sharing how his life changed when someone at his church renamed him as Katlego – a Tswana word that means success. And in the process he was relieved from the burden of his birth name that meant nuisance.

That’s not my name!

Another conversation I still carry with me was in Zimbabwe when a group of women explained to me how women in their culture was always defined and named in terms of another:

First you are the daughter of your father, then the wife of your husband, the mother of your children and even the widow of your husband…

Roles become names.

With everything considered they forget my name…

Personally I was confronted with the challenging question of keeping my maiden name or taking my husband’s when we got married.

Le Roux? But that’s not my name.

I recall my own mother’s excitement about my husband’s name. But this was mostly because his family name was the same as her maiden name!

Earthly names can affirm and root us. It can define us and even become us.

Earthly names can label and hurt us. Overlook us. Shame and reduce us.

But during this Christmas Season we are reminded again and again of Jesus, our Saviour, whose Birth invited us into a relationship with God. His birth paved the way for all of us to enter God’s kingdom, God’s family. To inherit a new Name. And therefore let us rejoice with Isaiah:

I will sing for joy in God

Explode in praise from deep in my soul!

He dressed me up in a suit of salvation

He outfitted me in a robe of righteousness … (Isaiah 61:10 from The Message)

Galations 4:4-7 remind us that we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage as children of God, heirs of God.

We are no longer defined in terms of others, nor are we defined by our past, our sexual orientation, our social or HIV status.

That’s not our names.

Although we cannot comprehend the full extent of this inheritance, Isaiah suggests that it has something to do with a name…

You’ll get a brand new name

 

Straight from the mouth of God

 

You will be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,

A jewelled gold cup held high in the hand of your God (Isaiah 62:3 from The Message)

A name. A brand new name. God’s children, not forgotten, but affirmed and named after God. Dressed in a suit of Salvation.

To think about: What meaning do you attach to your earthly name? And to the names of others? How is this different from carrying God’s name?

Written by: Aneleh Fourie Le Roux, Training Manager, CABSA

Author: Fourie-Le Roux A (Ms)
Language: English

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