Vol I No. 7

Belonging to Christ: Name-Giving

by President Fr. Gavin Dumbar

Question. What is your Name? Answer. N. or N. N.

Question. Who gave you this Name? Answer. My Sponsors in Baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

The Importance of Names

“With whom am I speaking?” That’s a phrase from old-school manuals of telephone etiquette. Now we say to the unidentified text messenger, “who is this?” The name represents the person, and by a name we may know and enter into relationship with another. Now we may remember how important a role names play in the Bible – as when God names himself to Moses (Exodus 3:13-15), or the apostles proclaim the gospel in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:6, 16): the name is God’s disclosing himself to us, in his power to save and bless, that we may know him and enter into relationship with him, and receive that salvation and blessing. And we may remember how the Lord gives new names to certain individuals – Abraham to Abram, or Israel to Jacob, or Peter to Simon – as a sign of a new calling from God. Names not only tell us who we are, they open the door to new relationships, new callings, and new futures. When Jesus in the garden of his tomb calls out “Mary”, that one word called her from shadows of grief and despair into joy beyond hope (John

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