A Rabid Fundamentalist Column
John W. Cowart
What's your name?
What a fine name! It's a biblical name, isn't it?
Sure it is. No matter what your name is, there is a Bible verse where you can find it.
Actually, I had not thought of this verse for years, until the other night my family stopped at a Pizza Hut where we meet a waitress with an unusually charming name.
The first thing we noticed about this young woman was her bright friendly personality. Then I noticed her eyes, soft warm eyes like Bambi's mother in the forest. Then I saw her red name tag -- TOY.
"Were your born around Christmas for your mother to name you Toy," I asked?
"No. My birthday is in September," she said.
Toy's full name is Toyshere Marcer and she was not named for anyone else in her family, but her mother had chosen her name solely for its euphonious sound.
Her pretty name reminded me of a story, and of other biblical names -- like yours -- which I have run across.
Once years ago, I meet a girl who named her newborn daughter, Merry.
"It's for Merry Christmas, the Mother of Jesus," she explained when I asked her about it.
The meanest, roughest, toughest (and I think the ugliest) human being I have ever meet, my sergeant in Basic training on Tank Hill, Fort Jackson, S.C., bore a hyphenated first name chosen by a mother's love: Sweetest-Angel-Of-Victory.
Maybe that name is what made him so tough. Far be it from me to tease anyone about their name; I know the last letter of my own last name generated many a fight when I was a schoolboy. Imagine that poor kid having to go through school with the other guys calling him "Sweetest".
My father's first name was Zade. I've never met anyone else with that name.
A fireman told me about going to help a young mother in labor. She had already chosen a name for her baby: Manly if a boy, Ragina if a girl.
By the time rescue arrived she was already -- Surprise --in the process of giving birth to twin daughters. Wanting the names to rhyme, the mother simply changed the initial R of the first child's name to a V for the other's.
Well, OK. When they get old enough to read, both children will be able to find their names in the Bible.
The Bible places great emphasis on a person's name.
The angel told Joseph, "And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
The name Jesus, Jehoshua in Hebrew, means "Jehovah is salvation"; the title Christ, Christos in Greek, means "Anointed One" or Messiah.
In some verses, Jesus is referred to by the name or title, "Emmanuel" , which means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). This name comes from the prophesy of Isaiah:
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:6).
Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Creator of the Universe lowered himself to become a human being in order to seek and save the lost. Because we needed rescuing, He somehow emptied himself of a bit of divine sizzle and was born as a baby in Bethlehem becoming both God and man. We call this belief the Incarnation.
Isaiah also prophesied:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
All these names tell us about some facet in the character of Jesus: God come to earth to save us from what's hurting us most, God in the flesh who cares enough to listen to us and guide us to where we really want to go, God in the here-and-now who won't go away, God who knows the troubles of this world from personal experience because he's been here and who still says peace of mind is possible.
All that good stuff is tied up in the name of Jesus.
But what about our names? Where's my own name in the Bible? What's the verse that seeing Toy's red name tag at the Pizza Hut reminded me of?
Her beautiful and unusual name reminded me of a story that happened in London back during World War II.
Heavy rain drove a kid off the streets into a church where vespers were being held. The pastor was reading from that passage where some people gripped because Jesus had supper with some shady characters (Luke 15:2).
After the service, the street urchin stayed behind, huddled in a pew, as the parishioners left. The pastor saw she was upset.
"Why are you crying little girl," he asked?
"Because my name is in that Bible you was reading," she said, rubbing her nose with her sleeve.
"What's your name," he asked?
"Edith," she whimpered.
The puzzled pastor racked his brain. There is nobody named Edith anywhere in the Bible
"Honey, there was a Queen Esther in the Old Testament, but I don't know of an Edith in the Bible,"
"Sure there is. My name was right there where you just read," the child protested.
The pastor opened his Bible and read the passage again:
"Then drew near him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured saying, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them" (Luke 15:1-2).
Well, that's what it's all about; he was named Jesus because he would save us from our sins no matter what our name might happen to be.
Christ Jesus receiveth sinful men and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and Zade, Ronald, Mary, Terry, Valerie, Barbara, Beau, Toy, Tonyaa, Donald, Patricia, Jennifer, Michael -- Ragina and her twin sister -- and Adam and Eve, Virginia, Georgia, Edith and ...
Well, this is a good place to insert your name too, because He recieveth, he even welcomes, sinful men and us with them. That's why the angel said he was to be named Jesus, Savior.
So be of good cheer; our names -- mine and yours, no matter what it is -- are in the Bible.
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