Names of God

On and off throughout my Christian life, (which could easily be summed up as my whole life) I have taken passing interests in the names that various Christian cultures bestow upon God. Most of the time, these names were Hebrew in origin and were found in the Bible.

I recently joined my husband's Presbyterian church. The Presbyterian denomination began in Scotland, and as such, there is generally a denomination-wide emphasis on Celtic Christianity, Celtic expressions of worship, Celtic symbolism, etc. And as I have a Celtic history myself, I was particularly struck by an entry in a book I'm reading.

The book is called Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I've been reading the Simple Abundance daybook by the same author this year, so I thought I'd take a look at this book too. It's about home and approaching how to set it up in a way that is authentic to you and your family. It's a little more ethereal than what I usually read, but practical enough that I don't lose patience. Interesting stuff.

On page 29 of Moving On Ban Breathnach quotes Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings, a book on Celtic spirituality written (or perhaps compiled by?) by Caitlin Matthews. In this entry, Ban Breathnach mentions a few of the "many exquisite and descriptive" Celtic names of God. Check out this list, it's pretty cool:

Source of All Mystery
Gate of Gladness
Mother of Memory
Piercer of Doubt
Kindler of Hope
Keeper of Good Cheer
Ever Present Provider
Compassionate Listener
Guardian of the Hearth
Only Source
Ancient Dream
Glad Giver
Weaver of Wonder
Revelation of Evening
Teller of Tales
Queen of Quietness

A few of these really jumped out at me. First off, I like the acknowledgement of the feminine aspects of God. I grew up with a very masculine understanding of God, and it took me a couple years to get comfortable with the feminine aspects of Divinity and Love. Queen of Quietness especially make me smile a little bit, because it reminds me of my home, where it could be said that I am the queen of quietness.

I also like the notion of God being the Kindler of Hope. Hope is something that has been an important part of my mental and spiritual life. And there have been times when there was nothing I could do to kindle hope except to believe in God's faithfulness.

Funny aside: you'll often see a Celtic cross in the Presbyterian church - it's the one with the regular cross shape, and then a circle where the two lines intersect. There's a prominent one in our chapel. Our children's sermon the other day was discussing the Celtic cross as a symbol of Jesus going up to heaven and out into the world. When the kids were asked what the circle in the center of the cross might represent, one girl said, assuredly, that it's Jesus's head. Kids say the darndest things.

Now it's your turn. Did anything from the list of Celtic names for Divinity jump out at you? Why? If you're not a believer in divinity, what do you make of the different notions expressed?

1 comment:

  1. Oh very interesting! Kindler of Hope stood out for me, just as Queen of Quietness followed right after. I really like these, and I'm not sure I've ever seen them listed together. What a beautiful reflection, huh?


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