I am a child of the living God, I’m also a mother, and as my eldest worked out very early if you yell for Mum/Mom in a shop, half the shop comes running. That’s why from very young in public she calls me by my first name, the name my parents, well actually my mother chose for me. My mother chose my first name because she wanted me to have the qualities of a woman with this name whom she worked with. Unfortunately, though the name was given, I somehow failed to acquire the qualities that my mother had hoped would come with the moniker. I have also been told my full name is the most common welsh female name. I kind of like that, no matter where in the English speaking world I go there are always people with my first name, but often people with my full name. Which can be a little disconcerting at times, especially as people can become confused or credit me with behaviours that are not my own.
Today’s readings, especially Hosea and Luke, had me contemplating again, what is in a name? Many of those preaching will by pass the Hosea reading if they have children in the congregation, it is too controversial a subject, and so it was meant to be, possibly a discussion point to prick up the ears of the males listening, the vehicle in which the message is given does not mean that the content is unsuitable for children, every child in the congregation has been named, every child in that congregation is learning to name things. They unlike their adult peers do not need the vehicle to get to the message, they are already there. God names things, but what is God’s name? Looking further into the lectionary reading we find that Jesus addresses God as Father, and in teaching us to pray we too are asked to call God Father, then a little further on in the Luke passage, and this week we are asked to look at them together, the idea of speaking to our Father in/or as prayer is reinforced by the idea that we can continue to ask, the child metaphor is used once again in V. 5-13. Who would refuse a child? As parents, we know that they appear by our bedsides in the early hours of the night, they ask embarrassing questions while shopping, and just watch a 2 year old let go of an “I want”, never! Every child in the congregation, every sleep deprived parent and every person, as we have all been children, can hear this week’s readings on their level.
A really lovely storybook that goes with these readings in this way is, In God’s name by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. You can see this interpretation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byeuazEzFvA , but I love the book best. try https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=urE3JK1A3Dg which is a similar reading of the book. You can order your own copy https://www.bookdepository.com/Gods-Name-Rabbi-Sandy-Eisenberg-Sasso/9781684424092
Don’t shy away from the hard stuff, it usually isn’t that difficult after all
Renita J. Weems, Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets, Introduction: A Metaphor’s fatal Attraction, ( 1995, Fortress Press, Minneapolis)