Rev. Michael Brewer sharing wisdom
And Jesus went out with his disciples into the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples: “Who do the people say that I am?” They said to him: “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; and others say one of the prophets.” And he asked them: “But you: who do you say that I am?” Peter answered: “You are the Christ.” — Mark 8
One of the underlying principles of demonology is that if you know the name of a spiritual being whom you encounter, that being is compelled to serve you. This is then a fundamental condition in Goethe’s Faust. In his first encounter with Mephistopheles, Faust asks him what his name is. Mephistopheles evades the question, and Faust in his further conversation reveals that he almost, but not quite, knows the name: he suggests destroyer, liar, which is what the Hebrew name Mephistopheles means, but does not make the last step. The resulting thread of uncertainty means that there can be a contest between the two.
So a name is important. When we name a child, we express an attempt to understand the being of the individuality which has entered this world, or we express our hopes of what this individuality may become in this life. Originally, every name had a meaning; names given to people in the Bible are very often accompanied by explanations why the name is given.
Adam’s first task was to give animals their names. The last name that he gave was to the first human companion: Eva, the mother of all life. This can remind us of the joy if a child when it is able for the first time to speak the names of the people and things around it. And we may surmise that whereas the divine Word is a verb: let there be, the archetypal human word is a noun, a name. In many cases, the name we give to someone or something has as much to do with ourselves as with the person or object to which we have given the name.
At significant moments in a life story, we may receive a new name. Such a name comes initially from a single human being, out of a spiritual insight. Such an insight is a moment of grace. What is important for that individual is not that he or she can maintain that level of insight at all times, but that he or she can attain that moment even once in a lifetime, and that he or she strives to attain such an insight ever anew.