Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Naming, Shaming and Claiming life
So now we know who Baby P was God - but of course, you have always known.
'I have called you by name - you are mine' is one of my favourite verses in Scripture, along with being known by you in my mother's womb. You know baby Peter Connolly by name - as you do the other four siblings who will one day grow to know their mother's name in a very different way.
Knowing where we come from affects us profoundly. How we think and feel about our ancestors shapes our self identity in more ways than we are often prepared to own. A 'bad' name is often quietly dropped by the next generation in the hope of leaving the 'stain' behind. Similarly, people search their family tree for some hint of royalty or even infamy - a touch of colour to add to an otherwise drab or dull existence. We either borrow from, or bury, the past in our attempts to build a reputation for the future.
Psychologists and psychiatrists insist that unless and until we embrace who we are we cannot be whole - I agree, but I disagree with the assumption that I am who I am solely because of my human ancestry. I am who I am most of all because of YOU.
The liberty which this brings is phenomenal. I know that I do not have to repeat the mistakes of my forebears, neither do I need to feel pressured to repeat the feats of excellence of those who bore the same name as myself. I am not my mother or my father, or a product of their parenting. Neither am I doomed to be a 'chip off the old block'. I am free to be me. I can choose to own or disown, to be inspired or repelled by those who share my surname, because YOU have called me by name - I am YOURS. By your amazing grace I am adopted into YOUR family.
It is said that blood is thicker than water - but it is the blood of Christ that is, by your grace God, being pumped through my veins, and there is nothing more binding. These are my mother and my brothers and sisters you said - and I own my place in YOUR family.
The name you gave me is my CHRISTIAN name, and my daily prayer is that I never bring it into disrepute. God grant that I never bring shame to your name by not being the person YOU created me to be and by not claiming for myself the life that you have given me.
My prayer this morning God, is that you will grant to Peter's siblings, and to all those struggling with their parents, the knowledge that they are more than their human DNA and upbringing. Help them to know God, that more than the basic chemical bonds, more than the social bonds, it is the bond of love, your love for us in Christ, which ultimately defines us, makes us whole and enables us to become all we are destined to be.