January 1st brings us not only to the start of a new year but to a lovely little festival of the church: The Naming of Jesus. It is an amazing thing to think that the Eternal Word of God, the Logos from whom all languages and all meaning ultimately derives, should deign himself to be named and to learn a language along side us.
Steve Bell has written an excellent reflection on this festival in his new multimedia project Pilgrim Year and he asked me to compose a sonnet to go with it. So here it is. As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.
Luke 1:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
I name you now, from whom all names derive
Who uttered forth the name of everything,
And in that naming made the world alive,
Sprung from the breath and essence of your being.
The very Word that gave us words to speak,
You drank in language with your mother’s milk
And learned through touch before you learned to talk,
You wove our week-day world, and still one week
Within that world, you took your saving name,
A given name, the gift of that good angel,
Whose Gospel breathes in good news for us all.
We call your name that we might hear a call
That carries from your cradle to our graves
Yeshua, Living Jesus, Yahweh Saves.