Two Names

“ … Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”

Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

From the naming of animals in Genesis, to God’s name in Exodus, John The Baptist, Jesus Himself, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul, names matter. They carry the power of God’s essence and energy in that person.

Names in Christianity are very important. Names in AA are also very important.

My parents named me Gordon James.

My name in AA is Gordon. Yes I am one of those who say “My name is Gordon and I am an alcoholic.” And my AA friends confirm me “Hello Gordon” in who I am and what I am. Acceptance all around.

“Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message Bible)

And here is my second name, James. The name I chose on my Chrismation into The Holy Orthodox Church. Named after my patron saint the Holy Apostle, St. James The Less. Why? Well, for two reasons.

This Saint James The Less is pretty much anonymous. Hardly anything about him is known. Jesus chose him as an Apostle and he probably died a martyr’s death in Egypt. That’s pretty much it.

His Saint day is also my birthday, October 9th. A kick in the pants coincidence.

So, Gordon James goes to AA Meetings, The Holy Orthodox Church, stays at home in solitude and silence (Hesychasm) and prays as best he can.

Need I say more than it all fits for me? As Fr. Thomas Hopko said ‘ … be simple, hidden, quiet and small …’ Who I try to be and what I try to do.

Joyous Penance

In all of this God has named me. Now my part is …

“For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.”

Thomas Merton

To become my True Self in God.


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