June 8

You shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.  Isaiah 62:2
The good shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3
Have you ever made a new year’s resolution? If so, were you able to keep it?
Whether your resolution was to break a bad habit, like smoking or biting your fingernails, or to start doing something good for yourself, like taking the time to read your Bible and pray every day, it feels good to set a day to say “this is the day that I start____.” New Year’s Day is a traditional day to start over, to get a fresh start on life, but it occurs to me on reading these verses that any day can be that new start. A birthday, an anniversary, the first day of Spring, or just a day chosen at random, any day that we wake up is a new start if we will only make that first step to change.
One thing about resolving to make changes is that we’re not going to always keep that promise every day. We might cheat on a diet, or fall asleep at night without flossing our teeth first, or catch ourselves saying something unkind about another person. We might tell ourselves, oh, I’ve ruined that diet, I might as well go back to eating the way I did before, it’s useless, and so on. I think it’s really easy to quit, but it’s more rewarding, at least in my experience, to decide to have another fresh start tomorrow.
Doesn’t it seem like it would be great to have a new name, given to you by the Lord Himself as part of that new beginning? As a child I didn’t especially like the name Lynda. It just didn’t have that popular-girl ring to it like the several Jennifers and Kellys and Kristys in my class at school. There were lots of girls with those perky, peppy names, and I didn’t know any other Lyndas or Lindas then. Over time, I grew to appreciate my own name as part of my identity, to enjoy that it’s spelled a little differently, that God created us as individuals, that we are each given our differences and our talents as a great gift from Him. Over the years, I have come to enjoy hearing my name spoken, as I guess most of us do. Having someone call us by name means that we are recognized and known to that person. My favorite is when the person serving communion calls me by name and says, the body of Christ given for you, Lynda. In that moment, the wafer as the body of Chris is a personal gift given to me and for me.
In this same way, whether we change our name to something we fell fits us better, or keep the name we were given at birth, or in heaven, when our transformation is complete, we will receive a new name that matches our completely transformed nature**, God knows us, inside and out, no matter where we might hide or how we might try to keep our problems to ourselves, our sins and thoughts a secret., whether we are successful at making a change in our lives or not, He knows us, and as I have written here before, God loves us anyway.
Loving, giving God, thank you for each day you have given us and all the days we have to come. May we not take our lives for granted as we do when we wish for our workday to be over or for the traffic to move a little faster. Help us to live in the moment and to look around us at your creation everywhere. Remind us that you are constantly with us in our hearts and minds and thoughts, even when we are distracted by the every day minutia of our lives. I ask that you help me forget the mistakes of yesterday and look with fresh eyes and new ideas for what I can accomplish today to help another person. Protect all those that need your loving care, and may those of us who have received so much reach out to others to share with them what you have given us.
Most of all, we thank you for loving us in spite of ourselves. Amen.
** Commentary by David Guzik of Enduring Word Bible Commentaries.
Lynda Tysdal