Pondering for Friday, December 23, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Friday of the 4th Week of Advent: Year 1

Morning, Psalm 93 and 96; Evening, Psalm 148 and 150:
Isaiah 33:17 to 22Revelation 22:6 to 11 and 18 to 20Luke 1:57 to 66:

“He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed.” (Luke 1:63)

For me, the key word here is, “Is.”  It seems the child was named John even before he was born.  Zechariah’s mouth was closed mute by the angel Gabriel for doubting the angel’s words. The premier Christener of all time was himself Christened while in the womb by God. He was Christened John before he was born.

I must admit that I am concerned about the names we give our children today.  Were our babies not expected and desired?  Do we not prepare a bed and a place at the table for them? We have a faith tradition whereby we have many biblical names that we could use for boys and girls.  We too could name them even before they are born since now we can tell their sex before they are born. Where are the traditional names found in the Bible, or even in our families?  I am John Thomas, named after my mother’s brother John, and my dad, Thomas.  But these names of mine are also biblical names. How do we explain created names given to babies that do not connect with the Bible or our family? This was perhaps a concern for Zechariah and Elizabeth as well.

The good news is, in this country, we can go to the courts and change our names if desired. It may be a lot of trouble but it may make sense to us and be worth it.  After this, we can then name our own children in a more traditional manner. Or, we can make the most of who we are named and then pass this new name on.

The people Pondered about John. “All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him:” (Luke 1:66).  We have what we call our Christening at our Baptism.  Our Tradition is for the Priest to say to the parents just before pouring the water, “Name this child.”  Where upon the child is Baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. You are named; what, or who, will you become?

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Iran and China.

 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2:1 and 2). So, for this evening and tomorrow day my friends, Shabbat Shalom. 

What is Shabbat? Intro to the Jewish Sabbath – YouTube

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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