I remember, several years ago now, the time when I went to a Christian concert with some of our younglings. Among the speeches given that night, one was by a musician who gave a thirty minute dissertation on how God’s name is “holy.” Not that it is a holy name, but that the name was literally the word “holy.” (Insert eye-roll and facepalm here.)
Knowing God’s name is important because it tells us something about who God is. And yes, our God (for those who follow the Abrahamic traditions) has been called several names. However, there are two that are particularly important.
The first is God’s main name in Hebrew that was given to Moses on Mount Horeb. It is usually translated “I am,” but it comes from the Hebrew word “to be. God’s name means life, existence, being itself. And that is who God is – the one who gives life, who creates, who empowers, who renews.
The other name appears in the New Testament in John’s first letter. That name is Love. The highest form of love: caring as much for another and for oneself. Agape love. The way God loves within God’s own self (the Trinity). The way God loves us. The way we are meant to love God. And most importantly, the way we are meant to love one another.
What do these two names teach us?
We are meant to live full lives as God’s wonderfully made creations – most importantly by the ways we give and receive love.
Because Life and Love are God’s own names, that does make them holy. Set apart. Of the utmost importance.
And they are what we are to seek after and to protect: for ourselves and for others.
My hope, as we continue to face this crisis, is that we will do so together, remembering the love and the life to which our God has called us – as who we are, as how we relate, and as what we protect.