The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'I have called you by name'

We are heirs of a wonderful inheritance

What’s in a name? A lot really. A name establishes relationship. A name confers blessing—the blessing of belonging, of inheritance. A name brings with it some status—you are no longer a “nobody.”

What do you feel when someone misspells or mispronounces your name—or worse yet, calls you by the wrong name? Our names are important to us.

A friend recently told me that she had never realized the importance of a name until she and her spouse named their children. “It’s a huge responsibility,” she said. A name can affect how we are seen by others and how we see ourselves.

We celebrate the “Name of Jesus” on Sunday, Jan. 1. The day’s lessons remind us in various ways about the importance of naming. These texts teach us about the name of the one God has sent. Jesus’ name placed him within a human family and within a particular lineage. What has been promised has now come to pass. Bearing the name of God, Jesus is the name that blesses us and grants us peace (Numbers 6:22-27). His is the name above every name.

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