I have often heard and read about people’s quest for the true name of God. Supposedly, knowing that name made them invincible or at least quite strong, able to perform miracles. We have a knack of turning something good into a ritual or a talisman.
I have seen it often in my country. The Orthodoxy arrived in Kyiv Rus quite suddenly and on one bright and sunshiny day, Prince Vladimir said “Let’s become Christians. All of the people.” Well, taking into account that the Slavs were pagans, the order to stop believing their gods and believe in God did not go smoothly. As a result, syncretism has evolved and nowadays we have so many traditions that are called Christian, yet have pagan roots.
But that is not my point today. Rituals and talismans aside, God’s name was always what made people tremble with anticipation, sometimes fear. Knowing the correct name of God would supposedly bring you His power because you would be able to call out to him.
During my ride with JW cab driver, we have talked about God’s name.
He asked me if I know God’s name.
“YHWH,” I replied, using the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton instead of Latin ones.
“That is not entirely correct,” I said. Remembering the Hebrew language class with NTS professor Joseph Coleson, I explained how that name came to be.
“Yes, Adonai was mixed with YHWH,” the cab driver agreed. “But if you do not know what God’s name is, how can you pray to Him?”
I looked ahead through the windshield at the snowy road, softly grinning. “He knows when I pray to Him.”
“But how, if you don’t know his name?”
“Do you call your dad by name? Or you call him just that – Dad?” I looked at the man, not sure where the comparison came from.
“I call him dad, yes. But if there’s a crowd, everyone got their own dads.”
“True. But it does not depend on us. He knows when His name is called.”
We moved to other issues after that, but the thought was still there. First of all, I have no idea where did the thing with “what do you call your dad” came from (well, I have an idea 🙂 ) Secondly, I sat amazed at the fact that He really does know when I (or whoever believes in Him) call out to Him. Like a father or mother who knows their kid’s voice and hears him amidst crowds of other people, He knows us intimately. From the inside out.
Jesus told us to pray to “Our Father in Heaven.” Just before He died, He prayed to Abba, Daddy.
I can help but feel His loving embrace and quiet voice, calming me down and letting me know that I am loved.