Every expectant parent is faced with countless preparations and decisions before a child is welcomed into the home. Some are tedious, most elicit myriad opinions, but one will most certainly affect the child for the rest of his or her life: choosing a name. It is often drawn from a parent’s lineage, sometimes chosen for its meaning as a blessing, and in many cultures indicates ones pedigree. To be named is to be human.
In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. The Word was God. The Word was given a name: Jesus. Everything that is, came into being through him. The divine enters the adam-flesh, and in this being God finds no fault. But, then, the divine-human rends the flesh so all may enter, be absorbed and redeemed by it. This is so that, as Julian of Norwich saw, all that is not well will be made well, and when God sees God’s creation—that is made in all goodness—all manner of things will be well.
When gazing on the crucified Lord, Julian perceives that at the point in time and place that we are made—that is, we are given a name—“at that same point is the city of God, ordained by God from eternity.” It is located in the “soul’s point of contact with the material and historical corporeality of human beings. This is why the lord waits sitting on the earth for the servant’s return. . . . [it] has a real historical genesis as a visible community, born from the side of the incarnate and crucified Son of God. In other words, the city is not simply spiritual, it is also political.” (Bauerschmidt, 153)
Ghana’s Cape Coast slave castle was built by the British in the mid 1600s, used to hold slaves before being shipped and sold to the U.S. My oldest daughter is taking her sophomore spring term at University of Ghana. She recently had occasion to visit the castle and ponder the implications of what occurred in that place—people, taken from their homes and families and forced into slavery, forced to forget their names . . . dehumanized.
The Name named us his own by taking on flesh—taking a name—and gave it up to be enslaved by our sin, our blindness to who we are, through whom we are created. And, now, re-created, re-named. The images in this video were captured by my daughter. Meditate with me on the profound implications of how great the evil, the darkness that has become Light . . . because of a Word—that has a Name.