Day Eight — Friday 1 January 2021— The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia

Numbers 6.22-27 | Psalm 8 | Galatians 4.4-7 | Luke 2.15-21

"O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Holy Family

Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona

Reflection

Naming in myth and fairy story has always been associated with power and identity. Thus, Adam named the beasts; in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; let his name not be remembered; thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; and so on. The process by which we name things and by which we are named gives life its focus and meaning. Our spiritual journey is undertaken is to discover our real name, that is, our true identity. Only God knows our real name, who we really are. We are on the voyage to that discovery.

Naming is the clue to such identity and purpose as we have. It is also the source of inner power. As soon as the princess had guessed the true name of the dwarf, Rumpelstiltskin, his power over her was destroyed. It can, of course, be taken to mean too much. The fact that my name is Alan has very little to do with my identity and sense of purpose. When a total stranger calls me Alan, the name is virtually meaningless. When my wife calls me Alan, name and identity are very close. When God calls me by name, then and only then, is Alan my real name.

Belief in God entails fearful risks. For in him we find our true identity. By him we are known by name. As we begin to know who we are, so also the final and eternal imprint of the imago Dei takes hold upon us and fills us with a new spirit even as we are called by name. .
— Alan Jones, Journey into Christ (Cambridge: Cowley, 1992). (edited).

Prayer

Let your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we, made in your image, conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot imitate your majesty, power and wonder; nor is it fitting for us to try. But your mercy reaches from the heavens, through the clouds, to the earth below. You have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love. caress us with your tiny hands, embrace us with your tiny arms, and pierce our hearts with your soft, sweet cries.
—Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153

Arvo Pärt. Da pacem, Domine. Nederlands Kamerkoor, cond. Klaas Stok, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam, 11 October 2015
(May this be our new year prayer?)

This masterpiece was composed by Arvo Päart, as a tribute to victims of the Madrid bombing attacks 11 March 2004.

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris. Quia non est alius. Qui pugnet pro nobis. Nisi tu Deus noster.Grant peace, Lord, in our time; for there is none else who would fight for us if not you, our God.

An instrumental arrangement played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra at an "ACO Underground" concert in Sydney, 2 December 2012.


May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church
Diocese of Canberrra & Goulburn, Australia.