If you were to walk through the metals doors of my church building on Sunday mornings, you would take a slight right and run right into a little brown table with blank tags, sharpies, a bowl of candy, and Kevin and Becky. This couple instituted something I think of putting into practice in my own home every time I run through the list of names of one husband, five children, two dogs, and sometimes extended family – NAMETAGS!
Now, my kids love this little table for two reasons: they get to write with markers and they get candy if they do! Smart little people 🙂 I on the other hand rarely make it over there as I head left, instead of right…straight to the coffee. Then I double back to the bathrooms and head to find my little brood as my husband has already begun the first song. On the Sundays that I do make it over to the table, I quickly scribble my name, pull the backing off the sticky, and then promptly slap in on…my leg. Yeah, I’m that weirdo! I head to my seat, set down child, coffee, ipad, possibly another bag full of notebooks and pens for the other four, several toys for the crawler, maybe a snack or two, and then I see if it’s safe for me to begin singing. About five minutes after that I will either be sitting with Baby Girl or picking her up and I will notice out of the corner of my eye a certain name tag stuck to some random object, not the least of which is my pant leg. Ah, well, it’s a long name to try and read during the meet and greet time anyway.
Normally I don’t ponder too much on inanimate objects such as sticky, marker-colored rectangles (well, there’s a possibility that I do), but then my pastor had to go and end his sermon like that! Like he had to answer a question about praying “in Jesus’ Name.” Why we do it and how it’s not a magic formula but rather our state of being after we become Christ-followers. I believe we say it because, yes, His Name holds power, strength, might, and glory, but when he said it had more to do with who we are now…in Christ…bearing His Name…living in Jesus’ Name, well that…yeah that moment, changed it all for me. Actually, it was this phrase: “So, you lie…in Jesus’ Name. You watched that…in Jesus’ Name…” Um, if ever you start to candy-coat or water down Who Christ is, His very Holiness will look you square in the face and remind you. So, what now?!
There have been moments, sermons, songs, books, and people in my life God has used to completely change me forever. I suppose the most recent one would be Ann’s book/blog/counting, and truly, my life has never been the same. Going on three and a half years! She hasn’t gotten old nor her words. The counting, well, even when I’ve waned, I am brought back to the every day graces. I suppose at the same time as Ann’s blog there was Katie’s blog/book/life. Yeah, there’s still some heart-to-hearts God and I are sharing over that life. And now, well now, there is this: In Jesus’ Name.
All day, every day…with few people, with many…in my home, outside my home…on good days, on bad days…when my house is clean, when it is not…when my kids are obedient, when they are not…when I feel like making dinner, when I do not…when I’ve had uninterrupted time with God, when I have not…IN JESUS’ NAME! When I chose to take Christ’s hand for all eternity, to be His bride, to have Him take up full residence within my heart, I stopped wearing the Anastasia tag. Now, every time God looks at me He sees His Son. (Yes, He sees me as the individual daughter He hand-crafted intricately, but the name I bear for a lost and dying world is not Anastasia – that name will not save even one soul. The Name I wear and bear is Jesus Christ, and if I’m wearing His Name all the time, cause His sticky never rubs off, then I better watch how I’m showing the world how Christ lives.)
And so begins this new (sort of) journey for me. I have been saying over and over again (ask Nathan, I’m sure his ears are tired of hearing it) and praying over and over again how I don’t want to sing and read and talk about living like Christ, I want to do it! I want to read the Gospels and then actually try it on for size. I used to wear the WWJD bracelets, and they were good accountability tools. To be honest, though, asking myself questions hasn’t always spurred my feet into action; they usually just get my mind dreaming grand ideas of how to live. When it comes to putting feet on those thoughts, dreams, and prayers, the questions have to stop and I have to answer. I have to come at myself with Authority and command this body to do what the heart and mind have been feeling, thinking, and praying. So, Monday I penned my own version of a tattoo (I’m a wimp, ya’ll) and set about all day to live worthy of the call I’ve been given…In Jesus’ Name.
Those of us who have decided to come to Christ, live In His Name every day; I just don’t think we realize we do. If we did, would we do that in His Name? We would like to separate it all, you know. “Well, this was in His Name, but this was just me being my sinful self.” or “I was just relaxing; I know what they’re doing is wrong but I was just watching/listening to it.” or “I was just so tired and frustrated; I’m only human!”
Friends – ANASTASIA – now that you are His, both the righteous acts and the unrighteous ones are done…in His Name when you do them! And the truth is, we don’t fool a foolish world. They know. They see us living divided and for all the sin in their lives, they are atleast whole-hearted when they live in it. I wonder if they’re just watching and waiting on us; I wonder if they really want to see something worth changing their lives for.
So, he wrapped up the sermon and I sat unraveling on the floor with that Baby Girl crawling toward the communion table. I took the bread I had mixed,
and baked the week before…
a remembrance of the very body that came to mix with the likes of me. He was pressed hard, stretched out, cut, and walked into the heat of hell for me. I took the juice that remembers His blood spilled out so that I could live out His glory. I. Took. Communion. And I knew I could never get up from that place unless I was really serious about living…In Jesus’ Name.
Sermon ended. Songs were over. And I turned and talked to the pastor. I looked and said, “So, maybe you should have passed out Jesus nametags on the way out. I wonder how many of us would dare to put them on.”
I still wonder, but in the meantime, I’m writing on my hand a daily remembrance, I’m placing my feet in Papa’s big shoes, and I’m hoping my hands start to look more and more like the ones that have scars from loving me so.
And grace, it’s all over this! For there won’t be one minute of one day when I can do this on my own. There will be skinned knees and broken hearts and foolish thinking, and I will need every new mercy and grace He gives me. This will never be about me and what I am doing. This is all about Him, His Name, and His Glory. I am all about Him, His Name, and His Glory.