Monday, June 9, 2008

God's Scandalous Name

This weekend I'm going to the "synod assembly." It's a gathering of pastors and other representatives from ELCA* churches in the southwest MN area.

Because the assembly continues through Sunday morning, the synod leadership sent us an order of worship for the laypeople to use in their pastors' absence. It follows one of the new ELCA worship book options and begins "Blessed be the Holy Trinity, one God..." instead of "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

I have no objection to the theological term "trinity." But "trinity" seems to be a "what" instead of a "who." Do we want to become a more impersonal church?

"Father" is very personal. Jesus called God "Abba" and told us to do the same. "Abba" is an informal yet respectful way of saying "Father." Christians have addressed God as "Father" ever since, even though saying that can be scandalous. It sometimes reminds us of imperfect or even cruel men.

I'll stick with the name Jesus used in prayer, risking the scandal. After all, God is messed up with the human enterprise, being our creator and savior. And if that name is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.

*Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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