What’s in a name? that which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II). William Shakespeare certainly had a way with words. And he introduced many words and expressions into our language. Some claim that over 1700 words in use were formed initially by him. Bedazzled, belongings, cold-blooded, eyeball, multitudinous, scuffle and swagger are just a few. The month we are in now is July – named after Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, likewise August (Augustus), June (Juno), January (Janus) and March (Mars). September, October, November and December take their names from the number of the month in the Roman calendar (seven, eight, nine, ten). Sometimes things that you never knew had names actually do! For example, did you know that the bumps on raspberries are called “drupelets”? And the space between your extended thumb and forefinger is called the “purlicue”? How about an ulage? That’s the space between a bottle top and the liquid. “Griffonage” is unreadable handwriting and “dysania” describes the challenge of getting up in the morning (also known as Mondays!) In the Bible there is great significance in names – many have a prophetic significance while others reflect people’s faith and gratitude to God. Samuel, for example, means “I asked God for him.” Solomon means “peaceful one”. Zaccheus, who Jesus called by name from the sycamore tree has a name meaning pure, clean and just. It was what he became after his encounter with Jesus, having been a tax collector who previously swindled everybody. Jesus also famously changed his disciple Simon’s name to Peter (Greek Cephas) which means “rock” as he told him he would build the church upon this rock. And elsewhere in the Bible we read that God knows each of us by name. “Fear not, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43.1) In Psalm 139 we read “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God, the one who brings all things into being, knows us, loves us and cares for us. Whatever our name is, whoever we are.

Many blessings,

Peter