"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Name of God

I'd forgotten that I was supposed to do it,

That I'd volunteered to teach Sunday School that Sunday,

Until it was too late to print the pages I'd thought about,

Too late to make a cute bookmark or something -

Something to help them remember.

Still, when she told me I didn't have to teach on what had been planned,

I didn't want to change.

It was part of the reason I'd chosen that week.

We were looking at each line of the Lord's Prayer.

The line I'd signed up for was "Hallowed be Thy Name".

I told her quietly that the Name of God was one of my favorite topics

And that I could do it just fine with a quick trip to the church office,

A quick trip to print off just one sheet of paper.

I took that paper -

The most comprehensive list of the characteristics of God I'd found -

And I wrote all twenty-seven attributes in two columns on the white board

Here, in the church I grew up in,

The church that talks about some of these while completely ignoring others.

After all, everything around us tells us that it's so much better to make God into what we want Him to be,

Worship an idol because the real thing's just not beautiful enough,

And people who think of love the way the world does can't see the God of the Bible as loving,

Not with all that wrath and justice in there.

They've forgotten that love rejoices with the truth,

And that the truth can hurt.

I can't follow their example, though,

Can't make Him less that who He is.

I won't.

So I write out the two columns,

Get out the church's NLT kids' Bibles,

And open all of them to Luke 11.

The children come up,

Bringing their offering change and smiling eyes.

One even has a notebook and a pencil.

They sit down at the table.

I pray for us,

Pray that God will be the one speaking through me,

Thank Him for this opportunity,

For His Name.

I call their attention to the Bibles in front of them,

Have to point to the three verses in each of their Bibles.

One girl has managed to flip to Acts.

"Is this it?"

I quietly flip the pages back.

"There it is."

I get one volunteer for each verse.

"This isn't the Lord's Prayer," they tell me.

"It's not how we say it in church, is it?

This is a different version, but it means the same."

I point to the other words I've written on the board.

These are the words that we speak each Sunday in church:

"Hallowed be Thy Name",

Ask them what "hallowed" means.

They don't really know.

I tell them the dictionary definition I'd found:

"To honor as holy."

"What does holy mean?"

They don't really know this, either.

I say it's cut,


That God is not like us,

Not like anything but Himself.

Then I get to the part I've been waiting for:

"Thy Name".

I tell them that, when we speak of God's Name, we are talking about who He is.

Then I point to the twenty-seven attributes of God on the white board.

I take the attributes one at a time,

First asking for a defintion,

Then giving the correct one,

Searching my mind for comprehensible examples,

Going far too fast,

Wanting to slow down and look up Scripture references

So they'd know it's more than my words, but His,

Knowing I don't have the time to flip to and point out verses in so many Bibles.

I try to explain things that seem contradictory,

Tell them honestly that we don't like to talk about some of these things in church,

But I do not skip any of the terms.

I know that the time I have to teach these children -

To try to tell them what no one told me until this past year -

Is quickly passing,

I leave a lot out,

But I refuse to ignore any attribute.

I give as complete a picture of God as I can in thirty minutes.

One by one, children bored with my endless talking notice the coloring supplies on the table,

Pick up papers and begin drawing beautiful pictures.

I say nothing, because, really, I don't mind.

They're young.

I was that young once.

Two, however, are still staring at me -

Staring at me intently -

Giving whatever answers they have to every question I ask.

Maybe someone is still listening?

When I finally finish, the girl with the notebook is writing,

Pencil scratching out one very long column of words on a page.

As I move around to compliment children on their beautiful drawings,

Pass out supplies for the craft we're supposed to do,

She holds it up to me,

Shows me the words she has written,

Twenty-seven of the most beautiful terms I have ever known.

"I wrote them all down.  See?"

And I see.

Oh, I see.

Counting reasons 1535-1574 today,

Never giving up this fight to see God as He is,

To worship His Holy Name:
  1. Not a word that he has spoken will fail (2 Kings 10:10)
  2. People are destroyed according to the word He spoke (2 Kings 10:17)
  3. He allows the descendants of those who accomplish what is right in His eyes to remain on the throne to the fourth generation (2 Kings 10:30)
  4. He reduces the size of His nation (2 Kings 10:32)
  5. His anger burns against His nation (2 Kings 13:3)
  6. His anger burns against His nation because the king of His nation does evil in His eyes (2 Kings 13:2-3)
  7. His anger burns against His nation because the king of His nation does not turn away from the sins of his predecessor (2 Kings 13:2-3)
  8. His anger burns against His nation, and He keeps them under the power of an enemy king for a long time (2 Kings 13:2-3)
  9. He listens to those who seek His favor (2 Kings 13:4)
  10. He sees how severely the enemy king oppresses His nation (2 Kings 13:4)
  11. He provides a deliverer for His nation (2 Kings 13:5)
  12. He sends an arrow of victory (2 Kings 13:17)
  13. His arrow of victory promises victory to His people (2 Kings 13:17)
  14. He allows the bones of His prophet to bring a dead man to life (2 Kings 13:21)
  15. He is gracious to His people because of His covenant (2 Kings 13:23)
  16. He shows concern for His people because of His covenant (2 Kings 13:23)
  17. He is unwilling to destroy His people (2 Kings 13:23)
  18. He is unwilling to banish His people from His presence (2 Kings 13:23)
  19. He sees how bitterly the people of His nation suffer (2 Kings 14:26)
  20. He does not do what he has not said that He will do (2 Kings 14:27)
  21. He does not blot out the name of His nation from under heaven (2 Kings 14:27)
  22. He saves His nation by the hand of one whom He has chosen (2 Kings 14:27)
  23. He afflicts those who do right in His eyes with leprosy (2 Kings 15:3-5)
  24. He fulfills the word He has spoken and allows the descendants of Jehu to sit on the throne to the fourth generation (2 Kings 15:12)
  25. He sends people against His nation (2 Kings 15:37)
  26. His anger is aroused when His people do wicked things (2 Kings 17:11)
  27. He warns His people (2 Kings 17:13)
  28. He warns His people to turn from their evil ways (2 Kings 17:13)
  29. He warns His people to observe His commands (2 Kings 17:13)
  30. He warns His people to observe His decrees (2 Kings 17:13)
  31. He warns His people to live in accordance with the entire Law that He commanded their ancestors to obey (2 Kings 17:13)
  32. He warns His people to live in accordance with the entire Law that He delivered to them through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:13)
  33. He orders His people not to imitate the nations around them (2 Kings 17:15)
  34. His anger is aroused when His people sell themselves to do evil in His eyes (2 Kings 17:17)
  35. He removes His nation from His presence (2 Kings 17:18)
  36. He rejects all the people of His nation because of their evil deeds (2 Kings 17:20)
  37. He afflicts all the people of His nation because of their evil deeds (2 Kings 17:20)
  38. He gives all the people of His nation into the hands of plunderers because of their evil deeds (2 Kings 17:20)
  39. He thrusts all the people of His nation from His presence (2 Kings 17:20)
  40. He removes the people of His nation from His presence as He had warned through all His servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:22-23)

Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:

(Take the challenge with us!)

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>
Counting in community,

Leaving the link open for two weeks this time,

Not sure if I'll be able to post next week (so don't get worried if I don't):


Melody ________________________________ said...

Beautiful, girl, beautiful.

Mary said...

Thanks, Melody. I might have made a lot of wrong choices in the midst of it, but that experience was beautiful. Truly. All Him. All Him.

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