Embracing God’s Many Names

God is the ultimate source from which all things find their meaning and purpose. But in the Hebrew Bible, there is no word for God. Rather, God is known by many names. By what names do you know God, and how do the names you choose have the potential to transform the world?

Pre-Session Assignment

Small Group Session Agenda

Opening Prayer 

Magnificent God, Your grace individually called us here by name. You know who we’ve been, who we are, and who we are becoming. You’ve journeyed with us into this space and You’ve promised not to leave us. Transform us. Reveal Yourself. Reveal Your ways. Disclose Your will. Teach us Your Names and illuminate who we are in You. With every breath, receive the petitions of your children. Center us on all that is You and all that You call us to do in Your Name and for Your glory. You’re our Healer. You’re our Comforter. Name-Giver, All Sufficient One, lead us. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

WHO ARE WE AFFIRMATION

In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another. 
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves. 
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together. 
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us. 
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater 
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.  
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and 
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.

Scripture

Exodus 3:13-15; Genesis 16:13-14; 22:9-14

Video Content

With Rabbi Joshua Martin Siegel
Rabbi Joshua Martin Siegel, who is now retired, started and served as rabbi of the Columbia Jewish Center in Columbia, Md.

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Head & Heart Discussion
  1. The only time in Scripture that a human being names G-d is found in Genesis 16:13. Hagar names G-d out of her experience, “The God Who Sees Me.” If you were to give G-d a name out of your experience, what would it be? 
    1. What is the name that you believe that G-d gave you that you are called to live into?
      1. The rabbi shared with us that G-d can bring seemingly opposites together. If we approach opposites with humility, what points of entrance might we find into the deeper mystery of G-d?
      Closing Prayer

      BEYOND THIS SESSION

      Prayer and Pathway to Journaling

      Often, when we become reflexively resistant to what we’ve experienced through study, it is pointing towards an area worthy of more reflection and prayer. In this part of study, we invite you to examine your areas of resistance or struggle. Allow God to reveal how transformation can occur in those areas. 

      Use these open-ended questions to facilitate your introspection: 

      • How does the discussion from this session apply to your life, your church, our denomination? 
      • Where is the Spirit revealing to you areas appropriate for growth and transformation? 
      • How does what we talked about transform your relationship with God and others?
      • This week think of some of the names of God that you seldom use. Say a prayer each day using a different name that expresses various aspects of God’s being. Use these names frequently in the prayer. How do the names you use change your prayers and your way of thinking about God? 
      • Write a prayer to ask for God’s support and enlightenment to apply what you learned, and then pray it.
      Additional Resources
      • Movie: The Shack (2017)
      • An Activity: Consider the following names of God and reflect upon or journal on which of these names resonate or doesn’t resonate with you:

        El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
        El Elyon (The Most High God)
        Adonai (Lord, Master)
        Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
        Jehovah Jireh (The Lord my Provider)
        Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
        Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
        Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
        Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)

          • John Wesley Writings: Sermon “On The Trinity” – Cork, Ireland, 1775

          “I dare not insist upon any one's using the word Trinity, or Person. I use them myself without any scruple, because I know of none better: But if any man has any scruple concerning them, who shall constrain him to use them I cannot: Much less would I burn a man alive, and that with moist, green wood, for saying, ‘Though I believe the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; yet I scruple using the words Trinity and Persons, because I do not find those terms in the Bible.’ I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text: ‘There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one.’"