One of the things I love to do is ask people about the names of their children. When I served as a missionary in Madagascar, a Malagasy friend of mine named her child, Aina [pronounced I-Nah]. It is my favorite Malagasy name, and it is quite common. But the reason why I love it is because of what it means. By definition, Aina means “life-giving breath,” the kind you get from knowing God.
Picking the right name for a child can be a difficult task for new parents. There are many things to consider: how it sounds, compatibility with the last name, its uniqueness, meaning and heritage. Aina received his name because his parents wanted him never to forget about the love of God. So what if the Fall Sermon Series using the Narrative Lectionary texts from Rally Day to All Saint’s Sunday was about naming?
Theme: Everyone has a name – there are traditional family names to adopted gotcha day names, nicknames and sainted middle names. This Fall from Rally Day to All Saints, we will engage Bible stories about being named or renamed, about names with meaning and we even get God’s name. Each Sunday, we will be asking “What’s in a name?”
September 8 – Genesis 2, Being Named: “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”
Need a A Creation Storytelling for the Children’s Message?
Sunday School at St John’s will have a petting zoo, DIY ceramic painting, and animal mask making:
September 15 – Genesis 18 & 21, My Name Is….? Abraham gave the name Isaac…Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
Sermon Activity: Practice the 3 minute rule
Sunday School Art Project:
September 22 – Genesis 32, Renamed: Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Interactive Activity: Thumb Wrestling
September 29 – Exodus 1 & 3, God’s Name: God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”
October 6 – Dueteronomy 5 & 6, A Named Love: Love God, Love neighbor.
October 13 – Ruth 1 – Wait, What? A woman’s name?: “…his wife’s name was Naomi”
October 20 – 2 Samuel 5 & 6 – A New Named King: And the Lord said to you, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.”
October 27 – 1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29 – A Named Reality: The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins
November 3 – 1 Kings 18 – God’s Name is Called Upon: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.