Naming – intimate, powerful act bestowing identity

By Dave Henning / July 31, 2019

“Naming is an intimate, powerful act because it is about bestowing identity.  Those who are named with God are part of his family and should bear a family resemblance.  Above all, they should reflect his character.  In this [Aaronic] blessing, that means that they will become mirrors of his shine.”- Tina Boesch

As Tina Boesch continues Chapter 4 of Given, she takes a look at the three phrases in the Aaronic blessing.  The first phrase — may the Lord bless you and keep you — evokes the covenant blessing given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Thus, the continuity of blessing engenders trust.  It demonstrates God’s reliability and faithfulness in honoring His promises.

In addition, the second and third phrases challenged what the Israelites expected in their relationship with God as it moved forward.  Because the innovation in this blessing centers in shine.  Hence, as Tina explains, living illuminated by the Lord’s shining face is the heart of the Aaronic blessing.  Tina then describes that the phrase May Yahweh make his face shine on you stands for much more than poetic metaphor.  The author states:

“The shine referred to in this blessing is not the shimmer of a flickering candle flame; it’s more like the blaze of the sun at noon in the desert.  The shine is the glory of Yahweh’s presence — shine so intense, it’s blinding.  This is the shine . . . that lit up Moses’ face when he hiked down from the peak of the mountain after God had given him the law.  His shine radiated with such intensity that the people couldn’t stand to look him in the eye.”

Finally, Tina stresses that this blessing makes God’s desire brilliantly clear.   He wants all people to see and experience His shine.  This anticipates an intimate, face-to-face relationship with God.

Today’s question: How did naming bestow identity through the Sacrament of Baptism?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: The power of the shine”

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Dave Henning

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