Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.
What’s in a name? Ask the clerk at the Los Angeles Superior Court, where, for a fee and the cost of filing a legal advertisement, anyone over the age of 18 can have his name changed.
A newspaper article published years ago gave some examples of the name changes. Georgia Ricotta wanted her name changed. After all, who would want to be identified with a cheese? Her new name? Anna Novelli. “I picked my last name from a TV series,” the new Anna says.
Clifford Morong also filled out the form and commented. “I dislike Morong, as it is often misspelled Moron.” He came up with the name Cliff Michaels after looking through the telephone white pages.
Iranian-born Esmaeli Sabaghi Khiyabani said his birth name was too long and difficult. He wants to be called Oliver Twist. “Nice, short names” are what Wittaya and Chuchai Mongkonsiriwatanas wanted. They became Witt and Gibb McDee.
The clerk shared her favorite new name request: a man wanted to be renamed Zenith Ray Blitz.
Our names can describe us. The Israelites took naming people seriously. Maybe that’s why Jesus changed the names of different people. Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul.
As God looks at you and me, He views us with the new name He has given us. Because we are “in Christ,” we have a new identity. Revelation 3:12 tells us, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”
Our new identity should also help our godly responses here on earth. If we have been a grumpy kind of person, let’s allow God’s grace to name us “cheerful.” Have we been a deceiver like Jacob? Try God’s new name, Israel: “one who strives with God” and prevails. Has your tendency been to react with anger? God offers you the name, Love.
When we get to heaven, we will appreciate fully the beauties of our new identity. There we will rejoice that He molds us into His image as we “see him as he is”–and His new name.
(graphic by nongpimmy found at www.freedigitalphotos.net)