Thursday, 1 November 2012

Thursday - Naming

Prayer:    Divine Healer,  we rejoice in the knowledge of Your love to us through Jesus Christ.  We will live this day in joy and praise.   Help us to turn our thoughts and minds to doing Your Holy Will this day.     Open our hearts to Your Call in our thoughts and words and deeds.  This we ask in Jesus name.  Amen.

Read  St Luke  1:  57 – 66

And Elizabeth gave birth to a son.   A son.   During these times,  a son was a wonderful gift from God as it meant the continuing of the line of Aaron as well as financial security for the future. 
On the eighth day,  the baby was to be circumcised.    During this time in history,  the father would have circumcised the baby boy.   The act of circumcision comes from the Covenant between God and Abraham.   Read Genesis 17: 1 – 27.     The covenant promises that Abraham will be the father of many nations …. God will establish covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be Your God and the God of Your descendants after you……    God tells Abraham that “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.  This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep. Every male among you shall be circumcised.  You are to undergo circumcision and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.  For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised….  Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people.  He has broken my covenant.”      
Wow!   That is quite a covenant.   
Brit Milah – the Covenant of Circumcision and Naming.   Traditionally, an empty chair is set aside in the room for the prophet Elijah, who oversees the proceedings and ensures the continuation of the ritual.   It is the father who does the rite of circumcision.  During the circumcision, the child is held on the lap of a person who has been chosen to act as sandek. The grandfather of the child or the family rabbi often takes this role and it is considered an honour to do this. Blessings are recited and a drop or two of wine is place in the child's mouth.  The baby boy is given his official Hebrew name.
The relatives and neighbours that come into the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth begin to choose a name for the Baby Boy.  To the people of Israel,  a name was more than just a name.  A name  reflected an expression of the faith of the parents.    Remember that Zechariah is still speechless.  But Elizabeth speaks up and says, “No.  He is to be called John!”   This was the task of the father not the mother.   The relatives and neighbours are astonished and hand Zechariah a tablet to write down the name of his new baby boy.   Zechariah writes, “His name is John” (which means “God is gracious”).   Suddenly Zechariah’s  mouth is opened and he praises God. 
The relatives and neighbours and townsfolk are astonished and declare that this new baby boy has the Lord’s hand upon him.   Indeed!
What is the meaning of your name?  With an understanding of what your name means,  how will you live out your faith today?
Prayer:  Holy God,  You call each of us by name.    You know us better than we know ourselves.  May You put Your hand upon our work this day so that we know You are with us in each step we take.    This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Many blessings!

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