August Pastors Page

Dear Grace-full People,
I challenged you a few months ago to try calling out to God using all of God’s many names. I’ve heard rich prayers before meetings, and deeper worship prayers, as some of you have taken me up on the challenge! I wonder about the prayers I haven’t heard- have you been deepening your daily prayer lives at home this way? Did you tell anyone about how it made you feel?
Using many Biblical and traditional names for God- Father, Mother, King, Sheppard, Redeemer, Ancient of Days, Friend, Lover, Liberator, etc, makes our spiritual lives better. It helps us remember that God is bigger than any one way we have of thinking.
I want to add to the challenge today- and ask you to think with me about if calling God only by one name might actually be harmful to our spiritual lives, and to our lives with each other.
Most of the names we default to: King, Lord, Father, are names that tell us how big and powerful God is, and emphasize God’s authority. That’s not necessarily a bad thing- I think we certainly obey God, and I’m awfully glad God is big and in control! But I wonder if using only those names harms our spiritual lives when we forget that God is also Servant . (Isaiah 42) God works in helping ways too!
Isn’t that shocking, that God in the Bible calls Godself Servant!?!?! Isn’t that humbling!?!?!
Here’s another thing: when we call God only by big names like King and Father, it distorts our relationships with each other. Remember how Jesus says to call no one Father? That’s because God wants to be the only one with that sort of authority over us, our only Father, our only King. It means that those in earthly authority aren’t the final authorities in our lives. But when we use that language too much, we start thinking “If God is like a King, then Kings must be like God.” We start thinking we should obey earthly authorities more rather than conditionally.
And we start thinking that fathers are more like God than mothers are. Of course all people are created equally in God’s image! But using words that only describe some people, not others, to describe what God is like, reinforces the inequality in our world.
So, did I convince you yet that maybe using only one or two names for God might be harmful to our prayer lives and lives with each other? I bet not yet, but I hope I started the conversation! Now it’s your turn- to argue back with me, to ask me questions, to talk about it with each other. I think the names we call God matter, and we need to use them all!
In God’s Great (and sometimes provoking!) Love,
Pastor Lura

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