Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Home About Worship Music and Arts Parish Life Learning Outreach News Contact
Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sermon: Names

by Interim Pastor Hollie Holt-Woehl

The Name of Jesus

Names are simple and profound things. I mean it is simple to think of a name, if you were to name a child or a pet many names would probably come into your mind. But names are also profound. When I say the word “mom” or “dad” what comes to mind? Maybe a picture of your mom or dad, or yourself as a mom or dad. Maybe you hear the name “mom” or “dad” you become a wash with emotion. Emotions of love or hate, or admiration or condemnation. Maybe what comes to mind is descriptive, like kind, caring, addicted, abusive, loving.

By mentioning those two names I probably have lost many of you to a multitude of other thought or memories I haven’t mentioned. See how profound, how powerful names can me? The mere mention of a name can elicit all kinds of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and memories.

Names are how we connect or call on people. It can be used in a positive or negative way. A positive way would be saying the name of a friend or lover or hearing a friend or lover call our name. It may give one a feeling of importance and may covey love or care.

There are also negative ways to use a name. During the first gulf war, the elder president Bush mispronounced Saddam Hussein’s name every time he spoke it. Sometime he said, “Sad-damn.” Other times he made it sound a lot like Sodom, of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Bible. He more than likely did that on purpose in order to show his disrespect and repulsion for the man.

Names have power. In a children’s book series there is an evil character that is known by “He-who-must-not-be-named.” But a wise character in the book states that the fear of mentioning the name gives it even more power.

God’s name, is given to Moses as “I AM,” the eternal present who was also in the past, “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” God’s name in the Hebrew Scriptures was written with only constants, YHWH, but pronounced ‘adoni’ or ‘lord,’ because they could not speak God’s name. In the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the bible whenever you see LORD in all capitals it is this unpronounceable name of God.

Jesus’ name is the Hebrew name Joshua (ya’shua), which means “YHWH saves.” It is the name of Jesus which brings about new life and hope for us.

There is a story that circulated some years ago which speaks to the power of a name. The story may not be true but it could be. The story goes like this: There was a man who was at a garage sale in Indiana and saw a box full or motorcycle parts for sale for $100. When he inquired about it he was told that the box contained the parts for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, most of the parts where there it just needed assembly. Realizing that Harley’s go for so much more the man figured he could put it together. He quickly paid the money and went off with his motorcycle in a box. The man decided to call the local Harley-Davidson dealer to see if they had a manual on this model. He located the serial number on one of the parts and gave it to them. After a few minutes someone got on the phone and offered $100,000 for the parts. The man thanked him for the offer but wondered what was going on, so he decided to call the regional representative for the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company. Once again he gave the serial number, once again there was a long silence, and finally someone came on the line and offered him $250,000 for the box of motorcycle parts. Sensing some importance for his box on parts he decided to call the national headquarters for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This time after the silence, and before an offer was made, the person on the other end of the line asked the man to look under the seat of the motorcycle and see what was written there. The man dug through the box of motorcycle parts, found the seat turned it over and found these words under the seat: “To Elvis, with love from the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company.” The final offer for the motorcycle? 2.5 million dollars.

What gave the value to that box of parts was not only its quality and age but the name written under the seat. The name increased the value of that box of parts tenfold.

There are times in our lives where we may feel no better than a box full of pieces. Maybe your life has fallen apart and you cannot get anyone to notice you. But because Jesus’ name was written on your heart at baptism, and because you are a child of God, you are more valuable to God than you can ever imagine. You are precious and beloved because God called you as God’s own.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Reconciling in ChristRIC

Copyright 2014 Mount Olive Lutheran Church