St John the evangelist
in the heart
of the surrey hills
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Hilary's Reflection July 19th
What’s in a name?
I love finding out what people’s names mean and when we were deciding on names for our children the meaning was very important to me. Our eldest is Susannah, which means ‘city of lilies’, she is a designer and lilies often figure in her designs; Emily is our middle daughter and is a teacher – her name means ‘industrious one’ and Daisy, our youngest, works for a music organisation and loves performing, her name means ‘eye of the sun’.
I’m also very interested in finding out about the meaning of words in the original language of the Bible. My name in Greek is Hilaros and the only time this word appears in the Bible is in 2 Corinthians 9:7: ‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ I love the idea of being a ‘cheerful giver’. To be generous is one thing, but to be cheerful when you give is not always easy, especially when giving money or time that is scarce or hard-earned.
The great 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon on this verse: ‘What the church wants nowadays is more of cheerful, whole-hearted service.’ He describes how all of nature is created to give generously within creation – ‘All the rivers run into the sea, the sea feeds the clouds, the clouds empty out their treasures, the earth gives back the rain in fertility, and so it is an endless chain of giving generosity. Generosity reigns supreme in nature.’ But, he says, not so with us humans: ‘[Man] is not fit for this world at all. He has not realised the motion of the spheres. He keeps not step with the march of the ages. He is out of date; he is out of place; he is out of God’s order altogether. But the cheerful giver is marching to the music of the spheres. He is in order with God’s great natural laws, and God therefore loveth him, since he sees his own work in him’.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to walk in step with God’s order, to ‘march with the music of the spheres,’ to do my best to live up to my name.
Dear Lord, thank you that you know our names and we are precious to you. You have designed each of us to give something different, something unique to us, to be part of an ‘endless chain of generosity’. Help us to be cheerful givers in all that we do and say.