What Name Would We Give Jesus? – A Liturgy for Holy Name Day

by Christine Sine

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Today is  Holy Name Day.  Just like every Jewish boy, Jesus was circumcised and formally named on the eighth day of his life, and so, one week after Christmas Day, while we are still celebrating the wonder and the joy of the Saviour who came to dwell amongst us, we celebrate this occasion.  In Jesus day, a name was far more important than it tends to be today.   Introducing a person just about gave you their whole genealogy and sometimes even reflected their personality.

As a celebration of then naming of Jesus why not get together with a group of friends for a party maybe not today but after those New Year hangovers have settled. This could be a good way to shake off those post Christmas blues.  Bring a name book with you.  Look up the names of each person in your group and discuss their meanings.  Get each person to share the story of why they were given that name. Then ask the question: In what ways does your name reflect the call that God has placed on your life?  Some of you may like to consider a new name that reflects what you believe is God’s call on your life.  One friend of mine changed his name from Bill to Will because he felt it better reflected his desire to use his life “doing the will of God.”

Next spend time discussing the names of Jesus.  Get each person to write down the names that they remember as being applied to Jesus in the Scriptures.  You might like to have a competition to see who can think of the most names.  Or you could write a poem or song that reflects these names.  End your time with a discussion about how you could represent these different aspects of who Jesus can be to those who live around you.

Names matter. What we call Jesus matters. If we see him as Lord it can imply a distant and unapproachable God who is unconcerned for human suffering. If we call him servant, we see him down in the dirty places of our world and we want to join him. I have written about this previously in the post: Sometimes I want to Call God Mother. Think about it for a few minutes and then listen to this powerful 5 minute sermon by Rev SM Lockridge entitled That’s My King.

Or you might like to use this liturgy to reflect on:

May we join in the dance of God this day,
And sing our praises to Christ our Saviour.
Let us celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth,
And shout aloud: Emmanuel, God is with us!

Pause to light the Christ candle and remind yourself of the many names by which Christ is known in the Bible. Allow time for each person to call out the names that are most meaningful to them)

Lord Jesus Christ,
A thousand names cannot confine you
You are King of Kings and Lord of Lord
Wonderful counselor, Prince of Peace,
Saviour, Restorer and Redeemer
You are the Lamb who was slain,
Lord Jesus Christ,
A thousand names cannot confine you
God of justice and truth how can we know you?
You are majestic and holy, abounding in love and faithfulness
You are the source of life, our provider
You walk beside us as friend
Lord Jesus Christ,
A thousand names cannot confine you
God of glory, God of power you care for the vulnerable
Protector of widows and orphans,
Compassionate to the poor, comforter of the downcast,
You heal our diseases and bring us wholeness,
Lord Jesus Christ,
A thousand names cannot confine you
God in whom we trust, you are always with us,
You are all things good, known yet unknowable,
You are the way, the truth and the life,
We worship you.
Lord Jesus Christ,
A thousand names cannot confine you

Read the scriptures for the day from the daily lectionary

Lord Jesus Christ, your name is proclaimed in all the earth.
You were God almighty yet you made yourself nothing
You came as a vulnerable child to live amongst us.
You were God all powerful
Yet you came as a humble servant
You were faithful as a son,
You went through death so that we might find life
Your blood was shed so that we could be redeemed
Your body was broken so that we might be made whole
Therefore God has exalted you and given you the name above all names
So that one day all peoples will proclaim you
As Jesus Christ the Lord

God who calls us all by name
Have mercy upon us
Christ who invites us to share life as one family
Have mercy on us
Spirit who welcomes us home together into God’s eternal world
Grant us peace

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus, as members of your family, help us to proclaim your names in all the earth.
Make us instruments of your life today.
Through our words and actions help us to proclaim you as saviour and redeemer to all peoples.
Lord make us instruments of your love today.
Where there is war may we proclaim you as the Prince of Peace.
Lord make us instruments of your peace today.
Where there is despair may we proclaim you as the God of all comfort.
Lord make us instruments of your comfort today.
Where there is sickness may we proclaim you as the great physician.
Lord make us instruments of your healing today.
Where there is oppression may we proclaim you as the God who brings freedom
Lord make us instruments of your freedom today
Where there is hunger may we proclaim you as the God of abundant provision.
Lord make us instruments of your generosity today.
Jesus may we be proclaimers of your names through all the earth.
Lord make us instruments of your kingdom today.

The Wonderful Counsellor guide you,
The Mighty God protect you,
The Everlasting Father be with you.
The Prince of Peace inspire you,
And the blessings of God be upon you, now and evermore.
Amen

The prayer The Wonderful Counsellor guide you… is from David Adam, The Rhythm of Life, (Morehouse Publishing 1996,) p54

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1 comment

Wednesday 2nd January | Transformational thoughts…. January 1, 2019 - 12:43 pm

[…] is Jesus name day. Usually this is a day when I think about the many names by which I love to call Jesus – Saviour, […]

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