This Sunday we continue to celebrate and contemplate the Resurrection in our readings and worship. One specific aspect of this week's worship is found in the first reading from Acts. Peter, preaching boldly as a witness to the Risen Christ, makes the audacious claim that "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” A quick few points that I would draw to your attention:
- Our Savior has a name. The Jewish faith always had a history of hallowing and respecting the name of God, which he had revealed to the people as "I AM," often written as YHWH (a shorthand way of not writing the full name of God, due to reverence). The God of the Bible is a Person (three Persons, one God), who revealed the personhood most clearly and definitively in the man Jesus Christ. We don't worship an idea, principle, or force. We worship Jesus.
- No one else can save. By stating this simple phrase, Peter is denying the prevailing claim of the age that Caesar was Lord. In a region under the military rule of the Empire, this notion undermined the structure of that empire and called it into question. We have our own empires today which demand our allegiance, and we worship as an act of rebellion and subversion, reminding ourselves weekly that Jesus is the only hope for salvation.
As we contemplate these ideas, we will hear from Steve Krimmel about our Summer Mission to Borneo, where the name of Jesus is being lifted up and preached to many who do not know him.
Here are a few songs that we'll be singing that are newer to our congregation. One song that focuses on the theme of the name of Jesus is "Your Great Name," which you can listen to here:
Another song that might be unfamiliar is "Forever Reign," which contains the lyrics: "My heart will sing no other name: Jesus."
We'll sing the song "Father, Open Our Eyes" as well, which is newer to our church:
I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!