Isn’t it exciting to name something or someone? Names have meaning. Perhaps this is why we instinctively ask, “Do you have names picked out yet” when we first hear the news of a friend or loved one who is expecting a baby. It is also why you had better not dare change the name of a little girl’s princess doll or a boy’s teddy bear! We can only imagine the task entrusted to Adam and Eve to name the animals. Surely they experienced the same struggles that we often face: “Does this name really fit?” “Will it stand the test of time?” “Is it true to the identity of the person or thing being named?” Yes, names are important, but the comforting reality about names, from another perspective, is that they will not determine the ultimate strength, substance, or identity of the object being named.
So, as we conversed over the name of our church it became clear that there could be no other! In the end, we realized that we would not have to choose between a name that reflected either our region or our theology. Rather, our name reflects both our region and our theology.
Regionally, as you know, one of the better known nicknames for our great city and metro-area is the Renaissance City, which means City of Re-birth or Renewal. It’s ironic that one of the most pressing questions being asked right now is how our city can ever be renewed.
Theologically, the central claim of the Bible is the good news that Jesus died upon the cross for sinners and secured the salvation of all who place their trust in him alone. The grand biblical vision and hope held out for God’s children is their eternal residence in the new city of which we catch a glimpse in the last book of the bible, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21)
It will not be jewels or gold that will make this new city so dazzling (though I’m sure they will be spectacular); rather, the presence of God and the joy of forever residing in the city where he will be seen face to face is what will make this the greatest city ever known.