Names really are important, whether we like them, or not. In the women's worship service in the county jail the chaplain instructs us to pray for the person on our right by name. If we don't know the person's name, we need to ask her before the prayer time begins. We pray for each other by going around the circle, each person praying for the person on her right. I attest to the fact that when I hear the inmate on my left praying for me by name, her prayer resonates deeply within me. Then I have the honor of praying by name for the inmate sitting on my right. She can experience that same feeling of being blessed, of receiving a special blessing just for her. And so on around the circle, we all are blessed.
This is from our volunteer organist, Marian Korth's blog. I feel the same powerful honoring in our 'naming prayers'. A few weeks ago we spent some time exploring the meaning of our names; Kimberly—leader of the warriors, Michelle—who is like God, Nicole—victory of the people, Laverne—like the spring, Keelie—beauty, just some of our names around the circle of worship. For unique names like LaCreesha—full of light, there is a free website that has the definitions for them all! My personal favorite: Melissa—honey bee. We could also embrace what our parents or those who named us intended for us in our names. How do we live out the meaning? For several women who knew the meaning of their names like Sandra—defender of humankind, her name is an honor. Our organist's name come from the root Mary—sea of bitterness, another reason she is not exactly thrilled with her name. She is a cheerful presence in our worship circle and does not reflect the meaning of her name at all!
Our gospel scripture for this week of naming was from Mark 8:27-30, Who do you say that I am? Jesus was concerned about his name too. Who do people say I am? What does it mean to each and every one of us to know that the Jesus who walked this earth cared about what people thought of him? Peter called him the Christ, the Messiah. He was living out the meaning of his name—with God's help. Peace, Julia
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