September 9, 2019
Weekly Reflection – “In His Name”
“In His name,”
The more “orthodox” Christian communities have a practice that I have learned from, it is called the “sign of the cross.” It is actually a prayer. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Saying this prayer is usually accompanied by the physical action of tracing the form of the cross on the body. So there are two aspects, the physical sign, and the words. And in doing it, one is invoking the presence of God.
The words seem important. They are calling on the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This calling on the name of God has significant Biblical precedent. Genesis 4:26 describes how, after the birth of Enoch, people began to invoke the Lord by name. Abraham, Moses, and David did their work in the name of the Lord. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in the name of the Lord (I Kings 18:24).
What Jesus Taught
Jesus taught that whenever two or three are gathered in my name, I am present. Paul wrote that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Philippians 2:10); and he began his first epistle to the Corinthians with, “…to you also who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be holy, with those everywhere who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours…” (I Corinthians 1:3). Calling on the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a significant act!
In this ancient prayer, one professes two of the deepest mysteries of the Christian faith: the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and the saving work of Christ on the Cross. The combination of the words and the action are a statement of belief. We mark ourselves as Christians by this prayer.
The sign of the cross serves as the beginning and ending prayer for worship services in many Christian traditions. It is also used as a blessing in some cases. But the early Christians took it further than that. They practiced using the sign of the cross throughout the day, in whatever activity they were doing. Are you going to work? Do it in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Are you preparing to eat a meal? Do it in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Are you being tempted? Resist, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By doing this, “In His Name,” one is invoking the presence of God. And it is said, that the devil flees when the name of God is invoked.
I think there is something to this. The practice of the sign of the cross has, perhaps, been overly identified with the Catholic and Orthodox communities. Because of its association with those churches, Protestants have been reluctant to use it. Upon reflection, I sense that much good could come if we were able to bypass our biases and begin living our lives more consciously in the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Try it this week. You may experience really positive results!
Blessings and peace,
Read more reflections, Drawing Nearer to God