To connect into the Sacred, we need to know who/what we are relating to. For us, humans, it usually helps to name it. Having a name, creates a bond and opens us to establishing a relationship.
Spider-man is stuck in the deep storage vault until morning (most likely). He creates a hammock out of his web-shooters and is hanging in the hammock.
Spider-man: Hey Suit Lady, I kind of feel bad calling you Suit Lady. You know. I think I should probably give you a name.
Like, Liz? No, no, no, that’s weird. (Liz is the name of the girl at school he likes.)
What about Karen?
Suit Lady: You can call me Karen if you would like.
Hagar Names God:
In Genesis 16, we meet up with Hagar. She is distraught. Hagar has run away from the abuse of Sarai (because of her jealousy of Hagar’s heir Ishmael). God comes to Hagar. In this interchange, Hagar names God. She is the only person in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures to name God. This is a powerful and amazing passage, as well as troubling in some senses. Today we will look at the naming part, not the sending back into slavery part.:
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,
“Now you have conceived and shall bear a son;
you shall call him Ishmael,
for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
He shall be a wild ass of a man,
with his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him
and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”
So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?”
Hagar came into contact with the Sacred and named God. This is a unique moment in our sacred scriptures. God is not named by anyone else. However, Hagar connects with God, recognizes the establishment of a covenant, and names the other party to this agreement. This, theologically, is a way to hold God responsible for God’s promises. Hagar stands in her power, as herself, in the presence of the Sacred, and says Yes to God’s request and covenant. She establishes a relationship with God.
Spider-man is seeking to establish a relationship with Suit Lady. He feels bad no knowing what to call her. She is a computer, so she most likely does not have a name. Spider-man begins to think about names and offers up Karen. The name makes the connection more real. There is a familiarity that comes with knowing someone’s name. Talking and relating to a person with a name is way easier to do that one without a name.
Names of the Sacred
This is how it is with the Sacred. We all have our way of relating to God. We use various names, various images.
Traditionally in sacred scriptures: God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Sophia, Spirit, Allah…to name a few
Non-traditional: Goddess, Sacred Energy, Universe, Light, One
The importance of a name
The name, the words, the way in which we call upon this powerfully transformative healing force in our world is important to us. It helps us establish a relationship that we trust and know we can rely on. It is the precursor to communing, being, talking with the Sacred.
For spider-man, it shifts how he relates to Suit Lady. He begins to ask her questions. He learns from her. Karen (Suit Lady) become his mentor in a sense, teaching him all about the spider suit and its capabilities, listening and giving him advice in his personal life, and more. The name unlocks a deeper level of connecting.
Naming the Sacred , whether it is a traditional name, a phrase, a sense, a feeling, an image, unlocks a whole different level of relating. We find when we know how to address the Sacred that communication begin to happen both directions, we want to share our deepest desires and secrets, we rely more and more on the Sacred for guidance.
What is your name for this Sacred Force in the Universe that guides, heals, creates justice, deepens Love, offers hope and mercy and grace? How do you call on him/her/them?
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.