Renamed for Service

Has your name ever changed? Or at least what people called you? Perhaps you had a nickname that only your closest friends knew.

For much of my life my family, friends, and co-workers called me Bob. It was a name I had once preferred and responded to. But when I was hired by a small engineering firm, two of the managers were called Bob and our customer preferred Rob. To add some clarity, I started asking to be called Robert, initially only while at work. After several months, I started to prefer Robert, the name my mother had preferred, and began asking everyone to use Robert. Within a few months, if someone called me Bob, I knew they were presuming an level of familiarity they did not merit.

For 99 years a man had been known as “Exalted Ancestor” then God had a new role for him and gave him a new name: “Father of Multitudes.” For 99 years “Exalted Ancestor” and his wife did not have any children. Thus to be called “Father of Multitudes” seemed to be an impossible stretch. God also renamed his wife as called “Princes.” And God had a new name too, “God of the Mountains.” But to take on these names required bodily changes for Abraham as well as for Sarah.

I will have more to say about Genesis 17:1-8 and being renamed for service at 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM on Sunday February 25th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

A Tip for Parents

Service changes us.

Ice cubes must melt to cool lemonade or soda. The ice cubes are changed by serving to cool the liquid. Children are also changed, usually for the better, when they help with a task, for example learning how to make a meal.

In this Sunday’s Gospel lesson, Mark 8:34-38, Jesus challenged people to follow him, giving up their usual ways of living.

Help your child appreciate how serving God changes who they are in the world.