Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.Revelation 2:17
The other night I was watching the Milwaukee Brewers play the LA Dodgers. The Brewers were playing at home, a stadium that used to be called “Miller Park” but is now named “American Family Field”. This change happened in January 2021 and seems to have confused many of those who claim to be Brewers Fans.
There are those, like myself, who still refer to it as Miller Park, the name that it has had since it opened in 2001. Others use the old time vernacular of “County Stadium” which harkens back to the days of the Milwaukee Braves and that famous 1982 Brewer club who made it into the World Series! Others. Trying to embrace the new, have dubbed it AM FAM. trying to shorten the mouthful of words into something that can be grunted in between chugs of beer and bites of brats!
Although I haven’t been in the stadium, I still get a chuckle almost every night when one of the announcers, usually Bill Schroeder, will let a “Miller Park” slip out. He then will say something to the effect of “That’s another $5 in the jar”. I don’t know if that is a running joke or if that jar actually exists, but it must be worth a lot by now.
I was also reminded of a story from my past that involved a name change. My Uncle recently passed away and, in order to cheer up my cousins, I sent them one of my favorite memories of him.
I was a sophomore in High school. We were all up north at Grandma and Grandpa’s old farm and we were clearing out an old bunkhouse where my Uncles sometimes used to sleep. We discovered Jerry’s old chest and inside was his Army Jacket from when he was active. I asked my Mom if I could have it and was told I had to ask Jerry.
I showed him the jacket and he shook his head and said “Why did Ma keep that piece of $%^&!”. He then told me I could have it.
I wore it all the time at high school. I loved that jacket and wore it out. One great thing about that jacket was how it helped me avoid a year of detention. I had a 2nd period study hall that I rarely attended. Instead, I would head across the street to the Open Pantry to purchase a donut and a Coke. Several times, upon returning to school, I would be stopped by the hall monitor. After confirming that I did not have a pass to be out of the classroom, I was told that I would be issued a detention. I refused to show my school ID and would simply point to the “DeMille”, my mother’s surname before marriage, stitched over the left breast pocket. I would then give the first name of “Frank” and Frank DeMille would be assigned to the naughty list.
Now when you did not show up for detention, that generated an automatic one day suspension. There were many days I saw his name on the suspension list.
I had forgotten about “Frank Demille” until two weeks before graduation when “Frank” was called to the guidance office over the PA system. It turns out, due to the outstanding detentions, “Frank” was not going to be allowed to graduate with the rest of his class. My friend and I slowly started a rumor that “Frank” had actually dropped out his Junior year and no one has heard from him since.
In our graduation program, the name “Frank DeMille” had an asterisk next to his name, indicating that he did not complete the requirements for graduation.
Names usually reference a specific person or a place. Down at the Ebenezer Stone Ministries Food Pantry, there are usually between three to five “Mikes” running around that place at any given time. We differentiate them by assigning alternate names, like “Michael” and “Mikey”.
At the school where I teach, I have been known as “Mister P” for years. This year, Hamilton hired a new Administrator who also goes by Mr. P. It was very confusing until the Administration just started referring to me as “P”, dropping the “Mister” part.
When approaching a table at a meeting where I am asked to fill out a name tag:
“Hmm… Who should I be today?”Palzewism #138
In the new testament, Jesus began having a similar problem. Specifically, he had too many followers with the name “Simon”. In order to avoid confusion, he started giving them nicknames or calling them by their second name. The most famous Simon from the New Testament Jesus renamed Peter, which comes from the word “Petra”, which means ROCK. If you think about it, Jesus called him ROCKY! And Peter (Rocky) went on to write three epistles, Rocky I, II, & III ( this joke I heard many years ago from Stuart Briscoe, former executive Pastor at Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin.)
There were over fifty people who had their name changed in the Bible, Mostly from God himself. Abram became Abraham. Saul became Paul, Levi became Matthew, and the list goes on. In each instance when someone was given a new name, a new chapter of their walk with God was about to begin. The new name represented the fact that what happened with their encounter with God has so radically altered them that they could no longer be called by their past name, for they were a new creation!
And the coolest thing about all this! You have a new name as well. Jesus tells John in the book of Revelation
We will be called by new names because we have been transformed into a new creation. This transformation has been completed with our baptism and will be revealed when we go home and enter into the Kingdom of God! Upon entering heaven, My God, My King, My Lord, My Savior and My Friend will bestow upon me my new name that I will proudly bear for all eternity.
I really hope that it is not FRANK!
I thank you for reading my blog and look forward to any comments or criticism of what I have discussed.
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“You Turned My Mourning Into Dancing!”, my book, is available for purchase here.