Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about the name of God? It’s everywhere, but what does it mean? At the beginning of our worship we invoke the name of the Triune God. We baptize in the Triune name of God. Christians bear the name of God and praise the name of God. The Lord’s Prayer says that Our Father’s name is hallowed, which means “holy” or “set apart”. But isn’t it just a name, like mine? David. You say, “David” I say, “What?” We converse. Is the name of God just a label or is there more to it than that? You guessed it. There’s a lot more, and it has everything to do with the family business.
The Family Business
It used to be more common, but we still have a few family businesses out there. You can usually spot them because the family’s last name is also a big part of the name of the business. People associate that name not only with the family, but also the business. These businesses get passed from generation to generation and are often really good at what they do. That’s because there’s a very natural apprenticeship that happens for the next generation. From birth a child knows that they one day will
inherit the family business. So, they grow up working in the business. They learn the tricks of the trade from an early age and carry that excellence into their ownership of the business, eventually handing off the family business to the next generation. On and on…
The Name of God
Think of the name of God as the name of God’s family business. At our baptism we are adopted into this Father, Son and Holy Spirit family, so now we bear the same name as the family. Not only that, but we are promised to inherit the family business. What kind of business is this? What’s the Triune God’s business plan? How about, “to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Or, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) A famous theologian, N.T. Wright, summarizes the family business rather succinctly, “putting the world back to rights.” Jesus does that for us on the cross and an empty tomb. He gives us the gift of forgiveness through faith. So what’s our role in the family business?
His Business is Our Business
Just like any family business, we learn the business, carry out the business and pass the business on to the next generation. Why? Because in your baptism you became a part of this family. God’s name is your name. God’s business is your business. “Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” (John 14:12) The name of God is both identity and mission. We are the children of God! Every one of us who bears the name of God has an integral role in the family business! We carry the truth of Jesus’ into the world. We communicate through our words and our actions that forgiveness of sins has been earned for them by the blood of Jesus. We run the family business as well as we are able knowing our success depends on the work of the Holy Spirit. By God’s grace more come to be baptized and are adopted into the family and bear the Triune name of God. Then when it’s time to join Him forever, we pass the business on to the next generation. God’s family business goes on. In the name of the Father, and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.