On April 29 our sixth granddaughter was born to Curt and Catherine. Having carefully chosen their three older girls’ names, they put a lot of thought into number four as well. So much thought that, for several hours after her birth, we had photos but no name. This grandfather found himself staring at the photo and saying I love you ____________. I love you so, so much.
And that’s when it hit me. Love craves a name. Filling in the blank with words like little baby girl, newborn, neonate, infant, nursling, darling, little doll just didn’t do it. I wanted a name to associate with my feelings of love. Expressing my love to a neonate just didn’t do it.
And that’s when I remembered God naming the stars (Psalm 147:4; Isa. 40:26). There are estimates of 3 quintillion (18 zeros on that one) stars out there. Why does he name them? And Adam names the animals. And God changes the names of biblical characters like Abram, Sarai, Jacob and Simon.
On one level we can answer the above with things like If he can name 3Q stars, he knows my name, my life. Adam names in order to eliminate soul mates/co-regents/a spouse. Bible characters have their names changed to reflect new roles God has for them.
All of these are true. But I suggest that on an even deeper level a name reflects the love a namer has for the named. The stars, and all nature, are expressions of God’s love. Adam is not just rejecting candidates for a relationship. He is declaring the goodness of all God has made in the animal kingdom. His taxonomy was love poetry, a celebration of God’s love for all he had made. It expressed Adam’s love as well. And the roles God has for the characters he renames are those of a love story.
It’s that love that holds out the promise of our receiving a new name when his work in us is completed. Colossians 3:10 tells us we are works in process now
you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
And the process will one day be completed, the new self fully revealed, as promised in Revelation 2
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.
The Got Questions website offers some helpful insight as to the stones
. . . the white stone probably has to do with the ancient Roman custom of awarding white stones to the victors of athletic games. The winner of a contest was awarded a white stone with his name inscribed on it. This served as his “ticket” to a special awards banquet. According to this view, Jesus promises the overcomers entrance to the eternal victory celebration in heaven. The “new name” most likely refers to the Holy Spirit’s work of conforming believers to the holiness of Christ.
One day his work in us will be completed and we will enter the banquet over which flies the banner of his love. We, like all of renewed creation, will exist as finally perfected expressions of that love. God’s love for us craves a name.
Oh, her name is Frances Hayes Kenney. My craving is fulfilled with I love you, Frances Hayes.
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