“I baptize you in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

So begins our life in Christ. It is fitting, then, that the Divine Service also begins in that same NAME, since the Divine Service is the center of our Life in Christ.

We bear the NAME of God. To ask Luther’s famous question, “What does this mean?” Is it simply an identifier? If a car says, “Ford” on it, it is identified as a car made by the company founded by Henry Ford. But that is about all the connection that car has with the late Mr. Ford.

Is it simply to identify who you belong to? Well, it definitely does that! You belong to the Blessed Trinity! And that is a great comfort. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV) And when God says that He calls you by your NAME, He isn’t only talking about “Robert” or “Kelly”. He is talking about that NAME placed on you, given to you in Holy Baptism. This promise of God to call you by name is for, “Everyone who is called by My name.” {Isaiah 43:7 NKJV)

But bearing God’s NAME gives you even more identity than that! You aren’t merely associated with God. You don’t just belong to God. Where God’s NAME is, there God is! And when God comes to those who are His, He comes with blessings in His hand. “In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.” {Exodus 20:24 NKJV)

Among the precious blessings that He pours out on us from His overwhelming love is that we may “…ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.” And not only ask Him, but also be assured that He will hear and answer us. In fact, He promises, “And whatever you ask in My NAME, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My NAME, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NKJV)

This blessing is not simply a “So what God will do for me?” kind-of-thing. It all flows from the awesome gift of communion with Him. This is what we were created for. It is what we were re-created for. It is, in the end, the goal, the very purpose of our existence and answers the question, “Why am I here?” You are here to live in loving communion with the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In the Fall, Adam and Eve chose to follow their own desires, to live independently of God. They chose individuality over communion. Does this mean that we lose our distinctiveness in Christ? Are we all just the same? “Dear Father, this is 1 of 6.”? Hardly! The One who created us is not that way! Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son, is unique and distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. But He does not live for Himself, or by Himself, but rather in loving communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and, by His self-giving love on the Holy Cross, in loving communion with us!

It is the same with us. We are still distinct persons. God does know us each by name. And He draws each of us out of our self-centered individuality, into a life lived in communion, loving and being loved.

And so we don’t speak of our life with Christ so much as our life in Christ. Christ living in us, and, He says, where He is, there the Father will also come and the will make their home in us. We are made temples of the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice! You are never alone, but have been brought into a life of communion, a life lived in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. “So they shall put My Name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27 NKJV)

by Pastor Allen Braun

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