Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Unnameable: I have long felt a kinship to those who are seeking to name the divine. Hagar names God El Roi, “The One Who Sees” because God saw her in her distress. God tells Moses “I am who I am,” from which we get the consonant-laden name YHWH for God. But in Hebrew YHWH is un-voweled and virtually unpronounceable: God’s name, we remember, is too holy to be said aloud. In the book of Acts, Paul finds himself in the Areopagus, and discovers an Athenian inscription to “an unknown god.” Paul seeks to connect with the Athenians across the diverse religious landscape in the post-resurrection Greco-Roman world and proclaims that this is the God “in whom we live and move and have our being” the one for whom we group, the one who is never far off, the one known in Jesus Christ.

When I was in high school, there was a poster in our youth room with dozens of names for God, all found in scripture. Some connect to the ethereal (Light of the World) some are tangible (Rock, Mother Hen), some are political (Lord and King), some are vocational (Shepherd). I love the multiplicity. I love the abundance. I love the perpetual search. To me it also points even more deeply to the unnameable-ness of God. We are constantly probing to find just the right way to describe the presence of God who is with-us, always. May you meet our un/nameable God today.

Praying the Alphabet
When we feel utterly unmoored, unloved,
unmoved, unnerved, unraveling, or unruly,
we seek you, O God.
Our unquenchable thirst for you
unveils your unyielding presence
and ushers us into your uplifting grace.
Use us, urge us, unsettle us, unite us
as you unfold your purpose in our midst.
Amen.