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Monday, March 13, 2017

What's in a Name?

Over the years I have found myself relating a story that accentuates the uniqueness of my wife Piper’s name.  When we went to Chico State College back in the early 1970’s we got involved with both InterVarsity, which was the main Protestant Christian organization on Campus and the Catholic group at the Newman Center.  I guess you could say it was an easy compromise for us with our different Christian upbringings.  We attended Bible Studies and their organized activities on campus with both organizations and attended Mass on Sunday’s with Father Mike from the Newman Center.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time a group of us followed Father Mike as he carried a plain old jug of Gallo wine (for sacramental purposes) down the slippery slope of Little Chico Creek for early morning Mass on one particular Sunday.  Then there was the time that Piper marched with the InterVarsity group down the main street in Chico during the annual Pioneer Week activities.  All the girls in the group wore matching dresses for the occasion.  I don’t remember how or where… but Piper sewed her own dress, which I must say looked rather fetching on her!

The one part of our interactions with both groups that was a little annoying to me though, was that most people we met tended to forget my name!  But I guess when you’re hanging around with a beauty with an unusual name it kinda makes sense.  It seemed like every time we came into a room for a Bible Study or an activity most folks would come right up to us, look to Piper and reach out their hand saying: “Hi… your name is Piper… right?” To which Piper would acknowledge and then the people would turn to me and say “Hi… and your name again was...?  I’m pretty sure that most of those folks eventually got my name, but all I remember today was the repeated times where I had to remind them of my very normal, everyday name, Jim!

One of the things that this experience eventual taught me was the importance of a name!  Ephesians 1:21 and Philippians 2:10 tell us of another important and unique name… the name of Jesus.  In Ephesians Paul wrote that Jesus’ name “is far above all rulers, authorities, powers, lords, and ALL other names that can be named, not only in this present world but also in the world to come.” (God’s Word ©)  In Philippians he declared “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and under the earth.” (KJV)

These two scriptures supported the Lord’s words to me back in 2009 when Piper and I were praying about what to do after Bible College.  He had made it clear that we needed to go back home to California for various reasons concerning Piper’s health needs. But mainly to find out specifically what was happening to her so that we would have a definite NAME to make bow before the NAME of Jesus!

I found it interesting that Thayer’s Greek Definitions states as concerning Paul’s use of the term “Jesus’ name” in both scriptures that “The name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought, or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering the name; or one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasures, commands, excellences, deeds etc…”
Think about that statement for a moment.  Call out a name of someone you are acquainted with and then write down whatever thoughts come to your mind when that name is spoken.  Try it with your own name…

When Piper and I started making personal decisions concerning her care once we knew exactly what we were facing, we immediately turned to Jesus for direction, support, peace and her healing.  We knew without a doubt that His name was above every other name and came complete with everything we would need along the path we were about to follow.  Once that decision was made and we began to follow it, we quickly came to learn that not everyone saw that name and our faith in it the same as we did!  We also discovered those who associated our personal names with confidence and trust and the few who had a different picture of Jim and Piper Berruto.

The important FACT for us though, was that we had instilled the belief over the years, that the name of Jesus WAS above EVERY OTHER NAME that can be named!  So no matter how difficult things have gotten over the years since that non-reversible decision back in 2010, we continue to see through the eyes of faith, that Alzheimer’s and every symptom of this awful disease along with every other thing that has attached itself to Piper because of this malady, HAS to bow it’s knee, it’s power, and ALL its symptoms to the all-powerful name of Jesus!

So let me ask you another question today… What does the name of Jesus invoke inside of you?  Is it the confidence that Paul stated in the two scriptures above?  Can you think of any other name in your vocabulary that might hold a higher place than His?

Hummm… interesting thought, isn’t it?  What do you think should be done about it?  Have a great week!  Stay in tune to His Word, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting EVERYTHING in my life to bow its knee to the name of Jesus today?”

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