When my brother was born (finally, a boy!) there was some talk about what name he would be given. I recall hearing that my mother’s choices were Stephen or Victor but that my father (John) was clear that his name is John. Thinking of that always puts me in mind of the story of Zachariah who was also very clear about it – for a serious reason, of course. (LK 1:57-66,80) We think my brother is pretty special and although there was sometimes confusion about who my mother was calling to a task or to dinner, his name suits him as one called from birth (IS. 49:1). I find myself standing up straighter and feeling confident, just by saying the name “John.”
That phrase “called from birth” is worth attention from each of us since it is true, I think, of all of us. Sometimes it takes a very long time to figure out the specifics and depth of what that call means. These days it is rare for people to stay in one job or even one career for the extent of their work life. Coming to know our deeper identity as we look in the mirror and place ourselves in the presence of the Divine can be even more evolutionary, yet often daunting. Knowing ourselves as ‘the beloved of God” is a lifelong, graceful becoming.
Today might be a good day to consider our given name and how we inhabit it. Have we a special (maybe secret) chosen name by which we hear God call to us? Is it possible that those two names might be coming to a convergence? What might we do to encourage that unity to emerge?