When A Name Dies

“What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!

If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Jacob wrestled with God for a blessing and prevailed over Him (Gen. 32:28). Only then did Jacob become Israel; only as Israel did Jacob receive his blessing. In that very moment his victory over God was suddenly reinterpreted as deliverance from God’s victory over him (Gen. 32:30).

On that day, a name was buried and a nation was born. On that day, we met the God who would deliver us by letting us prevail over Him. Indeed, on that day, the God of Israel proved to be the God of the Cross, whose tragic defeat would become our scandalous triumph.

God help us to take our towering names and let them fall on the razor summit of Calvary’s hill, so that world might see in us something other than ourselves, something as tragic as death and as scandalous as love, something befitting to the only name under heaven by which we must be saved, the name of the God who let us prevail over him so that he would not have to prevail over us: Jesus Christ.

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