What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Thursday, 4 June 2015  | Narelle - MECS Principal
We are eagerly awaiting the birth of two babies in the Primary school! Ali’s wife is due any day, while Rebekah and Ben are also waiting patiently for the birth of their baby in the next week or so. I wonder what they will call them. I wonder if they have already chosen names.

When I was born I didn’t have a name for two weeks! My parents were stuck on the spelling of Jillian, mum thought it should be spelt with a ‘J’, dad wanted it spelt with a ‘G’. During the stalemate, they were reading the birth notices and saw the name Narelle and so that was it. This also fits with my theory that all the Narelle’s that exist in the world were born between about 1967 and 1975! The name has never made a comeback, so we are one group of women that can actually be dated by our name!

My son, Darcy, was born shortly after the popular series of Pride and Prejudice so most people want to know whether he was named after Mr Darcy. Not really, we just liked the name! My daughter’s middle name, Daisy-Anne, brings together the names of her maternal grandmother and paternal great-grandmother. My new step-children call me Nazza – I’m not sure about that one yet!

Our names are intricately involved with who we are. They are often carefully chosen and have important significance in the family. Our names tell a story! The choice of a name can have a profound impact, or be a huge burden.

It can even be used to predict your career! Did you know that the most common names for racing car drivers are Bobby, Johnny, Jimmy and Luigi? Firefighters are most commonly called Martin, Ryan or Matthew. If you would like a graphic designer in the family, why not try calling them Vanessa, Jessica or Diana? There are also times when names can make us laugh! Like the cardiologist Dr Hart, lawyer Soo Yu, financial investor Rich Widows, orthodontist Dr Chu and the founder of a Graduate School of Oceanography, Dr Fish.

We know from the Bible how seriously God took names.

He intentionally changed the names of Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel and Simon to Peter. He commanded Zechariah to name his son John, and Joseph to name Mary’s son, Jesus, to incarnate God’s plan of salvation. In order to help Adam grow into the image and likeness of the Creator, God allowed Adam to name the beasts, the birds, the cattle, then Eve, then their sons. To give someone a name, as we see from the beginning, is a sacred act, an act that participates in God’s creative plan, a solemn responsibility.

And as we delve into God’s Word, we discover the many names by which Jesus is known. He is the cornerstone, the Lamb of God, the Lord of Lords, the Light of the Word and the Son of God. Jesus is our strength in times of trouble, our keeper who watches over us, our example along life’s journey, our deliverer from evil and anchor and refuge for our souls. Through acts of service and demonstrations of love we declare to the world that Jesus is the good shepherd, the comforter, the reconciler, the suffering servant and the resurrection. It is through these names, and many others, that we are reminded of the myriad ways in which God, through the person of Jesus, demonstrates His character and love for us.

And most importantly, God’s Word tells us that we are also known by name. Our name is written on His heart. God not only knows our name, but every aspect of our lives. Psalm 139 reminds us of the following:

You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

I’m sure that it is encouraging to know that as a staff, corporately and individually, we regularly pray for our students by name, recognising each of them as precious in God’s sight. We do so in the knowledge that they are known by God, loved and created by Him who holds all things together in His mighty name!

(Image by Bonnie Gruenberg)

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