Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.
I find it strange that my friends and colleagues have begun to call me by my first name less and less as I’ve grown older. During grade school, I was always known as Nick. In high school, people started calling me either Nick or Luken pretty much interchangeably. But when I got to college, most of my peers just called me Luken–even many of my close friends. And I’m not the only one in this situation. About a third of the people in my dorm at Ohio State are called almost exclusively by their last names.
It’s never offended me that some people don’t call me by my first name, but it has bothered me sometimes. It can be very distancing for a close friend to call you by your last name. I myself still call some of my friends by last name, but I try not to because I don’t want them to feel distanced from me in this way. After all, names are powerful things. Knowing and using someone’s name– especially his or her first name– puts us at a close level of intimacy with them.
That’s why I think it is amazing that God wants us to know His name.
In Exodus, God reveals His very name to Moses, “I am that I am.” God, the supreme Lord of the universe, came to Moses and told him His name, just like how anyone would shake your hand and introduce him or herself to you at a party! God wasn’t trying to be a distant, uninvolved God to Moses–He was trying to be an intimate, friendly God, a God whom Moses could call by name. The fact that God tells Moses His name shows us that God wants to be not only our Lord, but our friend.
I think that a lot of us tend to focus on God’s power and glory more than His desire to have a relationship with us. This isn’t a bad thing–God is powerful and glorious, and He deserves our praise and thanks. But I think that it is important for us to remember that God wants to be a friend to us. We need to remember that God loves us like the ultimate best friend. We need to remember that God wants to know us on first name terms.