13 But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ 15God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”:
This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations.
Reflection by Lynne Buell
The quote, “What’s in a name?” popped into my head when I read my scripture for today. The whole quote is from Shakespeare’s famous “Romeo and Juliet.” It goes like this:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Juliet, whose family were the Capulets, is forbidden to associate with Romeo because he was a member of the Montague family. She tries to enforce the fact that Romeo is not the opposition, but rather it is Romeo’s name that is the enemy; if he had a different name, she and Romeo could be married.
Our names matter, though. Our names identify where we’ve been and what our triumphs are. When I was a child, my mother told me that our ancestors were bakers (my maiden name was indeed Baker). But I think she was pulling my leg, not to mention that it puzzled me regarding my Mom’s maiden name, which was Lyon.
My Catholic childhood friend referred to herself as God fearing. She told me you had to pray a lot and always be good otherwise you would go straight to Purgatory. When we had sleepovers, she would make me recite the Rosary with her. She wouldn’t let me hold it because I wasn’t Catholic—like it was a sacrilege because I was Presbyterian. I felt ashamed; I was very confused as to why everyone wasn’t Catholic if other denominations didn’t measure up to Catholicism.
Here, God is adamant that Moses use God’s name when God directs Moses to approach the Israelites. Here we see that God is powerful and all-knowing. Using God’s name in the manner in which Moses is instructed would reinforce God’s authoritative and mighty strength to the others.
When I came to Pilgrimage in 2009, I realized that God means love, hope, and forgiveness. No longer do I associate God with fear. No longer am I confused about God’s love for us. God is our Creator and a divine entity that supervises all existence. This brings me comfort.
I am so grateful for all your blessings in my life. I pray that you never allow me to forget to show my gratitude in prayer and help me to pay back with acts of kindness to others. Amen.