I have a new article up at NewEvangelizers.com.
When he spoke with God through the Burning Bush, Moses asked God what Name he should give the people when they ask what God has sent him. Moses might have been trying to be a bit too clever. It is clear from reading the passage that Moses was attempting to get out his heavenly mission. He asks “why him?” He says that he isn’t someone who can perform great miracles. He says that he cannot speak in front of crowds. And he asks what Name he can give for God. Up until this point in Salvation History, God had not revealed His Name to anyone.
It has to be understood that in the ancient world it was believed that names had power. To have someone’s name means that you had special access to them. The best modern way to understand it would be the way we exchange names now. If someone came up to you and said, “Hi, my name is Joe,” the common response on our part would be, “Hi, I’m _______.” Now imagine going up to someone else and saying, “Hi, I’m ________.” That person then looks at you and says, “Good for you.”
There is clearly a difference between the two interactions and it based on the giving or withholding of the name. Exchanging names means that you are entering into some kind of relationship. This relationship does not have to be horribly intimate, for example it can be between a waitress and a customer. But it is a relationship nonetheless. But when a name is given and then one is not returned, it implies a lack of relationship. A person by this action says, “You are not worth entering into any kind of relationship. I will not share with you even my name.”
I am reminded of the TV show Doctor Who. The main character is someone called “The Doctor.” One of the show’s central mysteries is what is his real name. But his name is so special and secret that none of his friends or companions knows it, except one. The only person to whom he gives his name is his wife. Only an extraordinary intimacy like marriage could impel him to share it.
You can read the entire article here.