by Jeanette Bidne

As followers of Jesus, each of us has many names. Child of God. A sheep of Christ’s flock. Disciple of the way.

Our baptismal promises call us to “work for justice and peace.” Do we think of ourselves as peace bearers? How about followers of the way? In this Easter season, I invite you to wonder about the names God declares to you. Perhaps it is your baptismal name and its meaning. Maybe it is a name related to an image of God, like a sheep to a shepherd. What if we lived into the names God calls us?

As a child of God, what actions do you want to emulate so others recognize God’s presence in you?

“Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ‘Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:10-18)

The use of names in scripture is rich and deep. So too, are the ways God names us. Those names matter. Names change our circumstances and can shift our world.

Discussion questions:

1. What names have you had in your life? What names do you believe God has for you?

2. Of those names God declares for you, which ones do you feel you live into? Which ones do you wish you could live into more?

3. When was a circumstance where a name and its use shifted a situation you were in? How could living into a particular name as a believer shift current circumstances?

Closing prayer:
Holy God, you have called us by name, and we are yours. Give us the courage to claim who you have called us to be so we may show others your love and change the world. Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Jeanette Bidne serves Trinity Lutheran Church of Blue Earth, Minn. She is a wife, new mom, scrapbooker, crafter and interested in helping people connect Scripture to daily life. She enjoys a good cup of coffee.