Archive for October 27th, 2007

What’s In A Name?

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Acts 11:19-30 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tom Chittenden):

. . . and the disciples (you and me) were first called Christians in Antioch. (vs. 26).

As a father of two sons I remember well the discussions, the lists, and the moment of decision shared with Sherry in selecting the names for our boys. It was not something to be taken lightly.

Names are given to people and things in order to distinguish them from other people and things. If you recall it was Adam who was given the very cool task of giving a name to each of the different types of animals in the Garden.

God gave a new names to Abram (exalted Father), renaming him Abraham (father of a multitude) and Sarai (my woman of high rank, referring to her relationship with her husband), renaming her Sarah (woman of high rank, as she will be the mother of nations). Saul’s name has already been changed to Paul indicating a significant shift in the focus of his life. The giving of new names by God should not be viewed as trivial for the change always indicates a particular destiny, future or purpose!

Up until this point in time, most of those who became believers were Jews, and they kept a good portion of their Jewish identity — worshiping in the synagogues, and observing Jewish holy days. But now many Gentiles were entering the faith. They did not have the same identity of the earliest followers of Christ. What would you call this new large body of people who had turned to the Lord but who were not part of any “established religion”?

They needed a name that depicted their essential uniqueness. The one thing which characterized every one of these new believers was their faith in Christ and their acknowledgment that they belonged to Him. By coining the name “Christian” the people of Antioch acknowledged a very important distinction between Judaism and the Church. The Church is a new entity; the unifying element is Jesus Christ. It is neither Jew or Gentile. . . male or female. . . slave or free. . . black or white. . . rich or poor. . . gay or straight. . .

Thought for the day: We are not separate from one another. In Christ, we are all One. His disciples — Christian!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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