Being called, being called by name, being loved and being called by God’s name. The name is significant in this.
The passage sets being called by name in the context of security, it is a comforting passage rather than a challenging one – I can imagine being called by name both as a comfort and as a challenge. Naming assumes power.
This is especially evident in new born babies; the people that name a child generally have a lot of power over that child. In this passage that power is also very clear. God’s power over those he calls by name is great. Are we comfortable with that?
We need to note that the people being called in Isaiah are a community, a nation and not an individual. The comfort is for the community of faith, the community that is called by God’s name. In anxious times of decline it seems to me that it would be a good thing if the church could really hear the comfort and security of this passage.
Many times in the past year we have heard on the news (in Britain) the phrase: “so called Islamic State” or “self-styled Islamic State”. Although the BBC does not want to call them Islamic State, they did not start using another name for this group until the beginning of December. Now like the Arab speaking world they use ‘Daesh’. In a sense ‘IS’ was (and is?) nameless. I wonder whether that also means a certain powerless in the face of IS.
10 January 2016
Isaiah 43: 1-7
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.