Monday, February 9, 2015
Today’s blog is about names. In William Shakespeare’s “Romeo And Juliet”, this line from Juliet highlights an age old truth: “What's in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” In other words, we can call a rose a tulip, but its still going to be a rose. Here, we can borrow this oft-repeated line by many sports heroes when being interviewed: “It is what it is.” One can dress a gorilla in a yellow ballerina outfit and place a pink bow on it’s head, and may even teach it to dance ballet, but it will still be a gorilla. I don’t know if you are like me on this matter, but when it comes to people I know, often I will search the meaning of their name just to see if it fits their personality. Last Monday I wrote that Martha’s name (sister of Mary and Lazarus in the Bible) means bitter and provoking. In her case, it seemed like the parents knew something about her in advance. I believe that in most cases, however, the opposite holds true.
I got the idea for this blog a few days ago when I read an article about some very odd names of churches around the U.S. Here are but a few: Run For Your Life Chapel (I wonder if that will make people run to or from that church) Givers Never Lack Church (Its pretty clear what this church focuses on) Flippin Church Of God (I hope that’s the name of the town) Boring U.M. Church (Same here) Half Way Baptist Church (I wonder if they changed the hymn “I surrender All” to “I surrender half”) There are many, many more but I think you get the picture and I bet you can think of a few odd church names right here in our area.
I don’t see anything wrong with the practice but I bet you have also noticed that some churches have changed their names to better relate to the general public, many even dropping the name of the denomination. It was never my idea, but when we started ours we added “gospel church” to it to let the world know that we would preach the gospel. Our name is still registered as such, although I prefer just “Saved By Grace Church.” The established churches which have changed their name have added words such as “fellowship”, “worship center”, “bible church”, “family church”, and one which is very popular, “Community church.” Many new ones, on the other hand, have attached certain words to their name they feel will either attract or else characterize their nature. Among these words, are “spiritual” or “spirit filled”, “awakening”, “celestial”, “harvest”, “godly love”, “radiant”, “anointed”, and “jubilee.”
Names, including those we choose, are important. As far as churches are concerned, their name alone may draw people to it, and assuming it stands for something good, they have to make a sincere effort to live up to it because many of them don’t. For example, I know of many churches who have the word “grace” as part of their name, and yet their general message denies it. To conclude, we must remember that the world will always associate us with the name of Christ, assuming we conduct ourselves as such. We, therefore, have a serious responsibility to try to uphold the honor and dignity of that great name.
Memory verse for the week: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)