On this Covenant Thursday (the Thursday before Easter is also known as Maundy Thursday and Holy Thursday) I found myself reflecting upon Matthew 12:18-21… and remembering in whose name I place my hope.
In the past, I have expressed my fascination with the power of naming… and the joy that is gifted to humanity as God has entrusted us with this task (both:: being named and naming others & objects).
The act of naming is not a trivial matter for the weak of heart… and the act of being named is inherent in our humanity.
My family and I were in Texas last week for a wedding. In between all of the officiating, pre-marital counseling, and wedding photography… we were gifted with some limited time among our beloved family.
Dad had just completed another run of check-ups and tests with his doctors and cancer specialists in July of 2012, when he received the surprising news that his doctors had decided not to remove the rod that the surgeon fused to Dad’s T-8 vertebrae when the tumor was removed in 2008. This rod was intended to be removed once he had recovered, but now the doctors decided that it would be unwise to remove it for fear that the result would be far more detrimental than leaving the titanium in his back.
This was truly disheartening news. The rod has always caused Dad some discomfort and manageable (but consistent) pain. But the most difficult side-effect of the rod remaining fused to his T-8 is that he would no longer be able to compete as a long-distance runner and marathoner.
As long as I have been a “son-of-a-Weaver”… I have known my father as a “RUNNER”. He ran on country roads, on the shoulders of major highways, in gymnasiums… and he even ran up and down an unforgivably-steep hill beside an old factory that smelled of rotten eggs and battery acid in Frisco, Texas.
And then the doctors asked my Dad to stop running.
In light of the news that we have received regarding Dad’s battle with myeloma (the first tumor was removed in the fall of 2008, a second tumor was removed in the summer of 2012, and a total “Day Zero” stem cell transplant on November the 15th of 2012, predominant loss of sight in his right eye)… this bit of news regarding Dad’s titanium rod and doctor’s orders to stop running may seem a bit too minor to even mention. Nonetheless, my Dad must now speak of his marathon running days in the past tense.
Names (no matter how peripheral) are powerful.
Thankfully, it is not in the name “runner” that my Dad has found his name. And it is not in the name “runner” that my Dad has placed his hope.
In Matthew’s record of the Good News about Jesus the Christ, he quotes Isaiah the Prophet::
Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.
(Matthew 12:18-21 NIV)
And this is where I found myself early upon this Covenant Thursday morning… reflecting upon this beautiful passage of anticipation and hope again… while also remembering in whose name I place my hope.
Through suffering… this Hope has a Name.
Even unto death… this Hope has a Name.
In resurrection… this Hope has a Name.
In the Name of Jesus the Christ… that is where I find my name and my restorative hope.