Bearing God's name

01 May 2021 | Reflections | Anthony Luxton

It seems fitting as we have been exploring the theme of “Even better than Eden” in our services that we have been investing a lot of effort in the creation of our new community garden. The project says a lot about who we are and want to be.

The garden speaks of our identity and in many ways it introduces us to the community. How we introduce ourselves and what that says about our identity should not be underestimated. In being Christ’s church we take on the responsibility to bear his name and be his body in the world:

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (John 5:36)

The story of God’s creative event, as described in the book of Genesis, highlights humanity as being in a place of great honour and responsibility. God said ‘Let us make human beings in our image… So God created human beings in his own image’ (Genesis 1:26-27) and in this humanity bears God’s name. Since his creation event, God intended us to be his image bearers in the world. Interestingly, one of the early Church Fathers Basil commented that the image of God was given to us, but his ‘likeness is to be freely chosen.’ God captures this on stone as he declares at the start of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-7 Paraphrased):

I am the Lord your God who rescued you. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not worship them. You shall not bear my name in vain.

Carmen Joy Imes writes ‘Unlike the gods of other names, Yahweh could not be represented by a carved image; instead he was to be represented by the people to whom he revealed his name. Since he claimed them as his own, their words and actions were to reflect his Lordship.’ Throughout his life Jesus made it clear that he beared his Father’s (God’s) name, that his works testified on behalf of his Father (John 5:26). In being Jesus’ body we also bear God’s name. So what does the community garden say about our identity and how much does that align with Christ? These are important questions to wrestle with as we consider the implications of our community garden project. Let us pray that it might be a blessing, that it might be fruitful and open new opportunities as we bear Christ’s name in the community.


  1. Basil quoted in Andrew Louth, Genesis I-II: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series, 28.
  2. Carmen Joy Imes, Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters,52.

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