Speaking to the Soul: Our Married Name

Feast of the Holy Name

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 103 (morning) // 148 (evening)

Isaiah 62:1-5, 10-12

Revelation 19:11-16

Matthew 1:18-25

When I got married six years ago, I chose to keep my “maiden” name. Most people are used to the variety of naming practices within families, but the fact that my husband and I have different last names can be a hassle at times. On the funnier side, the home loan officer preparing our mortgage documents asked us with a polite hush, “Y’all are . . . married . . . right?” (as if she didn’t want to embarrass us about our relationship status).

Today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah reminded me of what a married name can sometimes signify in a given cultural context. Speaking to the land where God’s people dwell, the prophet announces a name change: The land will no longer be called “Forsaken” or “Desolate,” but will soon be named “My Delight Is in Her” and “Married.” According to this passage, the name “Married” should remind the land that God will rejoice over her, claim her as his companion, and refuse to abandon her.

Culturally, the signs of marriage such as a ring or a new last name can signal that a person has been chosen, is loved, and is never alone . . . at least in theory. The good news for God’s people, though, is that our worth, our delightfulness, our belovedness never depend on something as arbitrary or mutable as our relationship status.

Instead, God names us and calls to us, giving us all the gifts that a married name seems to convey: We are chosen. We are loved. We are never alone. And that’s certainly a name worth taking.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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