A little secret: I am preaching on Sunday. So today's inspiration is gleaned from random thoughts about what I have been studying. And I have been studying names. In the Gospel of Matthew, the story of Jesus' beginning has an angel telling Joseph the name for this baby: Jesus. Jesus is the English form of Yeshua which is a form of Joshua. Yep. Joshua. Where have we heard that before? Joshua is the name of the guy in Hebrew scripture who takes the people into the promised land. How is that for being saddled with a name? Joshua also means, arguably, "God saves." Additionally, Matthew references the Book of Isaiah and the name Immanuel, "God with us."
And I think being saddled with a name like Terri is a problem! Well, I don't really think it is a problem, but in second grade, I had problems. My reading teacher put masking tape on each reading book so she could write our names onto our book. I don't know why, perhaps because I was as boisterous then as I am now, but she put "Terrible Terri" onto my second grade reader. I was distraught. But, being ever so bashful, I said, "no, you need to change this." And then it became Terrific Terri. Just goes to show that advocacy has always been in my personality. But I was hurt that a teacher would label me as Terrible.
Naming, labeling, creates expectations that can hinder us or help us in our journey. I think the name "Terrible Terri" is a hindrance! But the name "God Saves"... well, it could go either way. You either live up to that name or you become completely overwhelmed. Or maybe even both! It can be both an inspiration and an absolutely terrifying expectation. I wonder if Jesus ever worried about getting it wrong? For example, he was out in the country, and this woman runs up to him asking for him to heal her daughter and he says, "I did not come for your kind...you're like the dogs underfoot at the dinner table!" Ouch. I hope he at least winced at that one. He did not live up to the expectation, at that moment, of being the perfect picture of saving grace. But he grew into it as he changed his mind. (Matt 15:21-28) and included the very ordinary mother and her daughter in his ministry. That's kind of inspiring, isn't it? A picture of someone willing to listen, hear, and change. We don't get much of that in our daily life. Witness: CNN, MSNBC, FOX. Maybe that is one place where "God saves." When we engage in a relationship, listen to each other, hear what is said, and change for the better. That might be new growth. That might be the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God. Can I get an Amen?
Where do you feel stuck? What name or label has you distraught? What new name is calling to you? How will you respond?
My word for inspiration in 2014 is ____________________.
We will be asking for a word every day focused on spiritual disciplines or practices. Then on January 1, 2014, we will ask for an overall theme word! You can share as you feel appropriate as we travel towards making 2014 a year of disciplined spiritual practices that transform the everyday in holy days.
If you feel so moved, leave your word in the comments.
(c) 2013, post, Terri Stewart
(c) 2013, photo, cc licensed 2.0, http://www.flickr.com/photos/21728045@N08/10015467196/
From the photographer's Flickr site:
"Zane Bell - "White Bear" - (Wabiska Mukwa) A Grand Chief fanning the embers of the burning sweetgrass smudge. This is my favourite image of Zane's day that day!
The Lowe boys are aboriginal Canadians, Metis to be exact. They belong to the Algonquin Woodland Aboriginal Peoples Tribal Council, with David as Chief, Arthur as Registrar and Elder, and Roger as a Director. The Tribal Council belongs to the Algonquin Woodlands Metis Anishinabe which has a Band office in Sundridge, Ontario, and is led by Grand Chief Zane Bell and the Clan Mother, Dr. Yvonne Fulton.
The unique event was an Algonquin “Naming Ceremony” during which event Arthur and David received their “Algonquin” names. Art Lowe - "Grey Wolf" - (Waabi Ma’iingan),
and David Lowe - "Big Bear Running" - (Kas Tchay Pah No Ho Muskwa).
They were honoured by the “Circle of Friends”, an aboriginal drum circle when the ladies presented the brothers each with an Eagle feather. Receiving an Eagle feather is considered one of the highest honours an aboriginal can have bestowed upon him by his peers. These brothers received the feathers in honour of the great many years of public service that they have given to the community, both on and off the force.
The brothers are members of the Bear Clan which, in Algonquin culture is made up of “protectors” among others. Arthur was a “protector” with the O.P.P. for about 30 years. Roger served for many years, with the Metropolitan Toronto Police, and David spent about ten years between the O.P.P. and a very small Municipal force in Canada’s High Arctic. He now commutes to Toronto to work for Citizenship and Immigration Canada as an Immigration Judge.
The event was further honoured by the presence of The Hon. Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament for Barrie, Ontario, and Rod Jackson, Member of the Provincial Parliament for Barrie, Ontario. About 50 other guests attended the event which was filmed by Lionheart Productions for an upcoming documentary about David and the Aboriginal People of Canada.
After the “Sacred Fire” ceremony and the “Smudging” ceremony, guests were invited indoors for a reception and refreshments."