What Is It About A Name?

By Pastor Linda Skinner

Our lives changed enormously when we added a little 7 week old 4 lb Cairn Terrier puppy to our family last November.  We had no idea what challenges, joys and lessons God had in store for us with the addition of this little bundle of fur, energy and needle-sharp teeth.  As we prepared to go pick up our puppy, one of the big decisions is what do we name him.  When he was born the breeder put a cobalt blue Velcro collar on him, so the only designation he had was “cobalt blue” and we decided that sounded like a name from some Science Fiction movie.

Since he is a breed that originally comes from Scotland, we wanted a name appropriate for his heritage.  We had a list of names and decided that when we met him and saw his personality, we would know for sure.  Years ago, we had a cat named John Barclay and he was a combination of love and a bit of the devil.  So, we were leaning toward Barclay.  Cairn terriers are known for having a loyal, but extremely energetic kind of temperament.  Very loving and yet all terrier (some say like a “terrierest”).

When I walked up to the kitchen pen at the breeder’s house, there was six of the cutest little balls of fur clamoring for my attention. Over the top of them climbed a little guy with a “cobalt blue” color.  His eyes were fixed on mine and it was like he was saying – “forget all of those others, you have eyes for me only.” At that point we knew right away, that was Barclay and he looked like a little Bear cub so his middle name became “Bear”. “Barclay Bear” has lived up to his name.  He can the sweetest little guy you have every met and he can be the most challenging pup ever.

Within two weeks we knew we needed training help.  Our vet helped us by providing a list of recommended trainers.  We learned quickly that the first thing that was essential was for Barclay to learn his name – for his safety and for our piece of mind. So, our first task was to train him in name recognition. We were also told that we should never use his name to correct him, his name should only be used to praise and show love.  Correction words are “don’t, no and ah!ah!”  His name should be something that he feels good about all the time.

Isn’t it interesting how similar our human response is to our name.  We love to hear our name and we love it even more if it is used in a positive way.  If it is used too often in a scolding or negative way, we start to ignore and even dislike our name being used. I think God was teaching me a lesson in preparation for this weekend.

This weekend, while Pastor Tim is recuperating from his knee surgery, he assigned me the next sermon in our Soar, Run, Walk series as we explore Jesus teachings on prayer.  John 14:13-14 Jesus tells his followers, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

 What is it about Jesus name?  His father, God the creator, assigned him that name.  His name has been used to “bless” and to “curse”.  His name brings great joy to some people and great anger to others.  I hope you can join me this weekend to explore with me what it is about the name of Jesus that makes it so special. 

Look forward to seeing you.  Blessings on your day,

Pastor Linda Skinner

PS  I promise we’ll be finished in plenty of time to catch all the Super Bowl festivities and commercials.