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Our Pride is in the Name of the Lord

Psalm 20; Habakkuk 3:2-15; Luke 18:31-34

Today in the lectionary, I was struck by the reverence for the name. "The name of the God of Jacob protect you!" says our Psalm, and "Our pride is in the name of the Lord." It's not just pride, the name stands in the place where others rely for military victory: "he will answer . . . with mighty victories . . . . Some take pride in chariots and . . . horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God." I like that they "collapse and fall but we shall rise and stand upright." This not only means we shall live (stand of our own power), but also uprightness carries the connotation of righteousness. Because of our trust in the Lord, we shall live and live righteously.

Habakkuk uses the phrase "The Holy One," which I think of as a formula for avoiding the name, but also, the NRSV has small-caps "the Lord" (which I can't seem to render on this Wix blog). When NRSV does that, it means the name of God, Yahweh. Yod-He-Waw-He, with vowels pointed under it so that a reader knows to say Adonai, the Lord, instead of the name of God. I love the awe in this depiction of God as warrior using nature. I think the Lord's chariots are anvil-shaped thunderclouds, churning the waters below them. God's speeding arrows and flashing spear are lightning. God causes earthquakes that shatter mountains. God causes floods. What army can humans put up that can stand against this? The fact that God's name is avoided by various formulas reminds me to think about what God's name is: God told Moses "I AM."

One thing is for certain. We can't comprehend. The disciples did not comprehend what Jesus was about do for them--for us. Habakkuk and the Psalm may understand that God is beyond full understanding and reverence the name. I'm not sure we understand fully even today. I love the line from a hymn: "In the cross of Christ I glory, standing o'er the wrecks of time." The nature-warrior God can certainly cause wrecks for empires, but we can cause them ourselves just as well. We rely on the mystery of the ways God achieves victories. ways we cannot fully understand. We don't even really know the original vowels of God's name anymore, but we can still rely on it. for protection. We can still take pride in it.