Preparing for Worship – Brianna Childs, pastoral resident.
Both our names and the meaning of our names can be such a crucial part of how we are formed throughout our lives. They become a big part of our identity, whether it be the history of a last name, the uniqueness of a given name or the joy of a chosen name. For me, I’m named after my dad Brian, so the meaning of my name is the same as his. Most often I’ve seen “strong, high, noble, exalted.” While I sometimes ached for a more unique name, I have come to love being tied to him in this special way.
If you were anything like me, maybe you were enthralled by the meaning of your name as a child. I remember receiving little plaques and cards as gifts with the meaning of my name on them and then asking all my friends what their names meant. Then, I was even more interested when I discovered just how important the meaning of names were throughout Scripture as well.
In our Isaiah passage today, we see a name that actually spells out its meaning too — My Delight Is in Her — a breathtaking thought. I am in awe when I am drawn back to remember that the same is true for you and for me. The promise of this new name is for us. God’s delight is in you exactly as you are right now. As we heard last week from Isaiah, “I have called you by name, you are mine.” God knows you completely, delights in you and rejoices over you in every moment.
As we prepare for worship today, I hope this truth is a refreshing comfort. At the beginning of the year, we are often bombarded with messaging that tells us we need to change, that we are too much, or that we are not enough. “Here’s how to weigh less! Here’s how to be more! Here’s how to finally get that thing we’ve told you you’re supposed to want in life!” Instead, I invite you to ponder your own name and be reminded that the Creator of the Universe knows you personally. You carry the divine image of the God who calls you Beloved. You are in this specific city that we’re called to love for such a time as this. May all this invite you into abundant life today.