The Name

Sunday's Reflection Questions:

Do you experience God as a “noun” or a “verb?”  Is God, for you, an experience or an idea? Do you have specific examples?

In what ways have we attached God to ourselves, rather than attaching ourselves to God?How are we participants in a system that “wrongfully uses the name of God” to justify our prejudice, our wars, our wealth, etc.?  

How can we change that, as individuals and a community “called by the name of Christ?”

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This Week’s Text: Exodus 20.7

Additional Texts: Exodus 3.14-15,  Micah 3.9-4.5

Teaching Link" The Name."

Downloadable group discussion sheet: .pdf

For Additional Study: Writing the Name of G-D

Questions for Groups or Reflection:

Read Exodus 20.7.  How have you understood this commandment in the past?

In the ancient near east, words had power.  A curse or a blessing was taken very seriously.  Names were filled with significance.  To know someone's name was to potentially have power over them.  Do you know what your name means?  Does it fit you well or not?  If you could choose a name for yourself, what would it be? 

With what kind of reverance do you approach God and God's name?  Take a look at the article for further study above.  Notice the extent to which some Jews go to be reverent to the name of God.  Is this needed or unnecessary legalism?

What is the balance between being intimate with God in a familiar way (God is my best friend) and  experiencing God's holiness (Awe?)

The prohibition aginst using God's name wrongfully is similar to the prohibition on images.  How might "naming" God be an attempt to control him.

Micah 3.9-4.5 describes the leaders of Israel acting unjustly, appealing to the name of God.  Do people take advantage of others in our culture and use God a cover for their injustice to others?  Talk about examples of this.

In what ways might we attatch God to our agenda as opposed to attaching ourselves to God's agenda.

Exodus 3.14-15 tells of God's interaction with Moses.  God says, "I AM who I AM."  But this is not the name.  The name is later, YHWH.  It is unpronounceable, and associated with the verbs of being- "He Was," "He Is," and "He Will Be." Does thnking about God in terms of "being" and "verbs" give you a different way of thinking about interacting with God? What thoughts does this conjure for you?

Read and discus the reflection questions from last Sunday at the top of this post.