I’ve noted a trend on Facebook lately where many of my friends are posting about how they will be looking forward to the end of the year 2016, largely because of how many important and inspirational people died and left the world during the year. I don’t know what the statistics show to support that, but the list of names is extensive and filled with names everybody knows. Names like Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel, Nancy Reagan, Arnold Palmer, John Glenn, Pat Summit, Prince, Carrie Fisher are the most prominent among the dozens of celebrated names that just about everybody knew. And then there are the names of loved ones who don’t quite make it to celebrity status, but whose contributions to the lives of their family and friends make their names worthy of remembrance and celebration of their lives.
As we come out of our Christmas celebrations, with the stories and rich imagery of the season still fresh in our minds, we can still look into the manger and see the miracle of new life given to us. The name given to that gift of new life was JESUS, a name that literally translated means “God is our Salvation”. It is a fitting name given to the child, born to us with a promise – a promise that JESUS would be the one through whom people would be drawn to God’s love, and a promise that living in God’s love is way to bear and overcome all the problems and sadness of the world. A promise that God has the final word, even over the tragedy of death.
Scripture is full of stories of those who met Jesus, from the time he was a baby, whose lives were transformed by an encounter with the one whose name promises salvation. The prophet Simeon, when Jesus was brought to the temple for consecration, proclaimed “My eyes have seen my salvation!” John the Baptist recognized Jesus as he waded in the Jordan for baptism and said “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. At St. Paul was so moved by his encounter with the risen Christ, that he wrote to the Philippians about the JESUS who conquered death, to become the “name above every name”. JESUS is the one name we remember because it is the one name that promises eternal life
As we turn toward 2017, and face a new year with hope for better times, there is one name that should already be grabbing our headlines. One name which calls us to look forward and remember. A name that is above every name. A name that stands for hope, because it is a promise, a promise that God provides salvation through the life of God’s son, whose name is JESUS.
Devotions for Week of January 1, 2017
Welcome to The Soul Cafe, a place for gathering, for learning and for conversation.
We invite you to join us as we study and discuss how God reveals himself to us in the Bible and in our lives.
Please read our blog, share our devotions and join the conversation.
About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.