Can you imagine coming across something absolutely exquisite in the shops, but discovering (sadly) that it has no name tag?
This happened to me, some years ago, while browsing in a gem store – you know those ones with rows of sparkling gemstones strategically placed on mirrored shelves? In this particular store, a beautiful geode caught my eye. I picked it up, held it in my hand and marvelled at its intricacies.
Where did this beautiful stone come from?
Where was its other half?
What were its secret materials that made it shine so bright?
What amazing geological processes did it go through to form its sparkling crystals?
Yet the geode had no name-tag and the mystery has plagued me since that day.
In some strange way, this analogy can be transferred to us human beings. We are fascinating creatures, and many of us marvel at the things that deem us to be ‘human’. Conversely, our doings and actions often fall short of the ideal and we sit back, sometimes in disgust, and consider; “What is it that makes us human?”
Yet, the mystery of our existence isn’t so unfathomable. Ironically, each of us does have a name-tag. The message of our origins is widely talked about – both on a scientific level and a spiritual level. But, we are given the choice as to whether we want to wear our name-tag or not.
Even if you are not a Christian believer, perhaps you can accept that something quite beyond our comprehension was part of our own construction and the creation of our beautiful planet? Can you accept that something almost magical happened all those years ago? And can you accept that in the process, human beings came about with a unique trait called ‘conscience’? Furthermore, can you accept that in this mystery, you personally have been granted a gift called ‘choice’?
So, what nametag do you choose to wear (if any)?
One of my own core beliefs is that God was involved in this incredible process called ‘Creation’. That it was through his unfathomable creativity that the earth and all in it came about. For me the Scriptural passage right in the beginning of the bible holds strong:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen 1:1).
About 2000 years ago, a miracle happened which allowed us clarity and the option of which name-tag we choose to wear. Through God’s doing, a man arrived on earth claiming to be God himself and putting to rest all human-shaped ideas of their own existence. He spoke of love and a way back to God, through him. His preaching and teaching was short in the whole grand scheme of time, but the things he said were so significant that many people chose to write about him. Some of the writers were even direct witnesses to this man ‘Jesus’s’ life.
‘John’, son of Zebedee and brother of James, was one these writers and one of Jesus’s disciples at the time too. His Gospel was written not long after Jesus’s death and it is a fascinating text, the purpose of which is to prove, conclusively, that Jesus was the Son of God and that all who believe in him will have eternal life.
One of the passages in the text has brought crystal clarity to my own thinking:
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Jesus comes with a nametag: “I am God.”
And he allows us to choose to have a nametag for ourselves: “I am one of God’s children.”
I realise that not everyone will choose this for themselves. But for me, having this particular name-tag provides me immense inner peace. After so many years of refusing to label myself, I want to wear it with joy. My undeserved forgiveness has come from the grace of my Father mixed up with the little faith with which I have been blessed. My name-tag also allows me to speak to God, my Creator and Father, directly, and to immerse myself in his love.
"I am a child of God!"
I know where I’ve come from and I know where I’m going.