Genesis 32:27 NLT
“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”
Adam must have had a lot of fun naming all the animals. Names carry with them a measure of identity. I had the privilege of choosing my name after Katey died as one means to manage the grief process. Having taken forever to tie up all the administration, I found I could literally manage only one task a day before I felt exhausted. Finally I took a holiday to the west coast of America. Here I found space for God and myself and reflected upon my name-change. Jazz surfaced because, while it seemed unusual, it reflected how I perceived my role in life going forward. Jazz isn’t written down and requires every musician to be skilled at knowing when to shine solo and when to provide the depth behind another’s virtuosity. This was my ministry; enabling others and enhancing the rhythm of God’s sound throughout the earth.
The new name reflected much of my struggle, for the way I had been invited to walk with God lay outside textbooks. There was no narrative that might guide me through the valley of the shadow of death. It was a solo performance I had to find for myself.
Anyone who has been in close proximity to someone learning a musical instrument will know that there are many false dawns. And so with my own wrestling match with God. Learning who I was truly created to be, growing comfortable with that instrument and then learning to master it ahead of public performance took time and effort. On more than one occasion I threw it down believing I’d never master it.
Yet slowly I have. Jazz is not to everyone’s taste. It expresses itself far from the classical concert halls of much-loved symphonies. It occupies the corner of a bar, a late-night club, anywhere, in fact, where people go both to lose and hopefully to find themselves. Its rhythms reflect the angst of living, sometimes with a lyric, more often than not, without. Jazz gives a sense and offers a direction, yet it is the listener who must find the beat and cadence.
QUESTION: What does your name mean? Is it a reflection of who you are?
PRAYER: Lord, may the words you speak over me give me purpose and direction in this life.