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Monday, 2 August 2010

What's in a name?

Have you heard the one about the woman who changed her name, by deed poll, so that she could have a word for each letter of the (Roman) alphabet? Yes, it sounds like the opening line of a joke - but it's actually true (if newspaper reports are to be believed!). The woman, formerly known as Ceejay Epton, is now legally known as Ceejay Apple Boat Cat Dog Elephant Flower Goat House Igloo Jellyfish Kite Lion Monkey Nurse Octopus Penguin Queen Robot Sun Tree Umbrella Whale X-ray Yo-yo Zebra Terryn Feuji-Sharemi. To use a common cliché, "You couldn't make it up!"

To me, the silliest aspect is that she hasn't used a single name that is recognisable as referring to a human. Indeed, I doubt that even pet-owners would use them for their animals! It's almost as if she picked up a dictionary and just randomly chose a word from each section! With just a little more thought, she might at least have been Aileen Barbara Catriona Dorothy Edith Fiona Gloria Heather Iona Joyce Kathleen Lorna Marsali Nancy Oprah Pauline Quintina Roberta Sarah Tabitha Una Victoria Wendy Xara Yvonne Zoe!!! (and, yes, every one of those is a legitimate female name - and, for all but a few, I know females who bear one, or more, of these names!).

But so what? After all, as Shakespeare's Juliet has it, "... that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;"

Perhaps, in the 21st century, it doesn't really matter. The lady in question has had her moment of fame - although she certainly isn't going to be receiving a Christmas card from me! I'd have to start addressing the envelope at the beginning of December!!!! However, this was not always the case. There was a time when a child's name was very carefully chosen, as it was deemed to direct both character and destiny. Even today, many people want to know the meaning(s) of their name(s). [My own, by the way, mean "strong" and "noble-spirited" - so I am not unhappy!]

Of course there is one particular name, given to the mother of the Child even before He was miraculously conceived within her (Lk.1:31). It is the Name that is above every name; the Name at which, one day, "... every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, " as every tongue cofesses "... that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil.2:10).

So, what does that Name mean? In the original Hebrew form, Yeshua, it means "God is my salvation". This Child was born to save. But who needs a Saviour? Obviously, those in need. If I am swimming, comfortably, in my local swimming pool, I don't need a saviour. However, if I am being swept out to sea by currents against the power of which I am totally helpless, then I most certainly do.

That against which I am, in my own strength, totally helpless every day of my life, is sin. It, in turn, is defined as "... any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God" (Westminster Shorter Catechism). So, if I break the law of God - either by failing to do that which I should, or doing that which I should not - I am guilty of sin: and I need a Saviour. Praise God that, by both His life (Rom.5;10), and His death (Rom.5:6) Jesus - God the Son - has provided the salvation that I could never gain for myself. Through Him, my sins are forgiven, and I am made a friend of God (Rom.5:11). Oh there's more to it than that - repentance, confession, acceptance. But that's the end result, and in that I may rejoice. As the accompanying video reminds us, "Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe, because we had a debt we couldn't pay."

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus - now there really is "something about that Name"!


ceejkiamo said...

miss alphabet here didnt realise people would be interested in me changing my name didnt give the sun or the metro permission to put me in the news paper i didnt find out until 4:50pm when my sister called and said her neighbour had seen it also if i wanted common names like barbara i could have chosen a million and one names oh and by the way my sons name means kings or royal

Brian Ross said...

Hi Ceejay!

I apologise if you have taken any offence at my use of the article (and I know, from personal experience, that newspapers don't always print "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", which is why I added the comment "if newspaper reports are to be believed"!).

However, I trust that you will understand that, in spite of my personal view as to the names you chose, I was using the story as a 'hook' on which to hang something of much greater importance. I hope that you will have read the full post, and watched the video! Perhaps you will even return to the blog, without having to wait until a further reference is made to you!! (fairly certainly, never!).

Btw, I didn't make any reference to your son - that must just have been the Sun and the Metro!

Thank you for leaving your comment.