Herald Journal Columns
Aug. 9, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A name above all names

By Pastor Elizabeth Hadler, Montrose United Methodist Church

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1

Being blessed with the long name of Elizabeth, I have also been blessed with many nicknames; for example, Liz, Lizzy, Tin Lizzy, Thin Lizzy, Lizard, Lizard Beth, Lizard Breath, Beth, Eliza, Li’l Liza, ‘Little bits,’—just to name a few.

And I usually knew, without even seeing the person, who was calling for me, if I heard one of these names. My uncle always called me Lizzy, my eye doctor always called me Beth, and my Grandpa Jid always called me Colonel (wherever that came from).

And I knew for sure when I heard the name ELIZABETH MAY HANING hollered out that it was my mom, and I was in big trouble.

But seriously, our names are very important, and we like for others to know our names. As a former teacher and coach, and now as a pastor, I try very hard to learn persons’ names as quickly as possible—and luckily, I’m blessed with the ability to do so.

Knowing one another by name creates a special sort of connection, bond, and satisfaction.

I’m reminded of a time two summers ago when I was helping at the Decision Hills Church Camp for middle sschool and high school youth. My five children came with me—the oldest was eight and the youngest six months at the time.

One of the youth attending the camp, he was 13 or 14, had some special needs—his name was Chris. Chris just loved to hunt and search for rocks and shells along the beach and in the lake with my children.

One day, my kids decided to do some more hunting for ‘treasures’ in the lake, and my daughter, Danielle, went over to Chris, who was lying on the beach, and said, “Hey Chris, do you want to come and help us look for rocks and shells?”

Chris sat up, and I overheard him say to the person beside him, “Wow. She knows my name.” And a huge smile came across his face.

It was quite apparent from Chris’s reaction, that he had probably not been called by name very much—and maybe not enough.

What is truly amazing is that God knows each and every one of us by name. In fact, God knows every hair on our head. Is that amazing, or what!

But now, on the flipside—do we know God by name?

The psalmist writes, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” Is the name of the Lord majestic in our lives? Do we honor, glorify, magnify, and worship the name of the Lord?

Yes, there are many names for God: Savior, Redeemer, Emmanuel, Great Physician, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, I am, Father, Mother, Parent, Master, Counselor, Yahweh, and the list goes on and on. Each of these names describes God, and we possibly use them at different times.

But no matter what name for God “feels” best at a particular time or moment, the name of the Lord is above all names—even our own.

Hymnist Naida Hearn writes, “Jesus, name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us, blessed Redeemer, living Word.”

Won’t you share the “name above all names” with others? I hope and pray so.