Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Miracle of 1950

You haven't heard of it? Well, I suppose I really can't blame you for not knowing about the miracle of 1950. How could you have known? You would have had to have been in Minneapolis Minnesota that year, in a particular delivery room, on the 23rd of May, to have seen it with your own eyes. I happened to have been there, but my recollection of that day seems for some reason quite fuzzy. My mom has a much more vivid memory of the event. Most parents, even non-religious, will attest to experiencing some sense of the miraculous at the birth of their children. It's as if for one moment the cursed veil of having-gotten-used-to-everyday-life-and-taking-it-all-for-granted falls away and we see with Eden wide eyes the marvel of a being coming into being. We see one small suddenly Someone appearing as if by divine decree and taking our breath away by the mere fact of his or her existence. A bloody, slippery, bawling, wrinkly miracle. That was me. That's the miracle of 1950 I ponder, at least for a while, every year as the month of May approaches.

You too, dear reader, are an improbable miracle. For God brought you and me into being with an eternal purpose aglow in his Fatherly heart. As George MacDonald puts it, that purpose can be summed up in a name--your name. But it is not that name you were given at birth, but your true name. The name alluded to in Revelation: "And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." [ Rev. 2:17] MacDonald comments: "The true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the being, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man's own symbol,--his soul's picture, in a word,--the sign which belongs to him and to no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is, or even, seeing what he is, could express in a name-word the sum and harmony of what he sees. To whom is this name given? To him that overcomes. When is it given? When he has overcome. Does God then not know what a man is going to become? As surely as he sees the oak which he put there lying in the heart of the acorn. Why then does he wait till the man has become by overcoming ere he settles what his name shall be? He does not wait; he knows his name from the first. ...It is only when the man has become his name that God gives him the stone with the name upon it, for then first can he understand what his name signifies. It is the blossom, the perfection, the completion, that determines the name; and God foresees that from the first, because he made it so; but the tree of the soul, before its blossom comes, cannot understand what blossom it is to bear... Such a name cannot be given until the man is the name." --George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons,

Lord, help me to more fully reflect that name I will one day receive from you. Help me to overcome all the influences which would have me own some other, perhaps more accepted or respectable name. Thank you for granting to me the miracle of existence, of being, of life. May I be filled daily with gratitude and wonder as I grow into my new name during this, my 59th year. Amen