What names do you claim?

Sermon at Church of the Apostles, Seattle

Feast of the Holy Name, January 1 2012

Today’s grandiose-sounding “Feast of the Holy Name” is really nothing more than an official remembrance of the circumcision of Jesus.  A human act, marking a turning-point in the human life, of this baby born Son of God, Son of Man.

Like every other Jewish male since Abraham, Jesus son of Mary, joined the Covenant of Israel by having skin cut from the foreskin of his penis, a permanent, bodily symbol of incorporation into the company of the people chosen to be a light to the nations, partners with God in the redemption of the world.

During this ceremony, a child is also given the name by which he will be known.  And for Mary and Joseph, there was no question what that name would be –

Jesus, the name given by the angel in dreams to each of them;
Jesus, prepared for this baby before he was conceived;
Jesus, because he would save his people from sin.

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