I remember as a young adult singing these popular lyrics, “He draws me to his banqueting table, His banner over me is love.”
We all deal with labels, some we put on ourselves and others are put on us by other people. Some of those labels are more obvious than others, like what brands we wear or look for when we go shopping. Others are less obvious and can be judgement that we carry around about ourselves or other people. These labels are the ones we often spend our lives trying to break free from. The harder we try to free ourselves from these labels the more they are magnified.
The more I worry about the way I walk because of my Cerebral Palsy, the worse it becomes. The more that I “try” to hold a glass of water or walk without stumbling, the more awkward I become. We may be under the illusion that career success or financial wealth or social status will bring us great satisfaction, but once we attain these goals, we soon discover that there is still an emptiness in us.
Earlier this month, a group of people from the Portland area were privileged to hear Judy Squire, an author and friend of mine, speak about her book, ‘Living in the Names of God.’ One of the names that popped out at me was Jehovah Nissi, which means ‘banner.’
When we live under the protective banner of God’s love, we can experience the richness of his grace. He covers us on our journey and gives us protection by ‘keeping the powers of darkness at bay (Ephesians 6:1).’ However, when we chase other things, we come out from under that banner.
It is exciting to lay down the titles or ‘banners’ that I once chased and trade them for the label that the Lord gives me. This Good Friday, we remember when Jesus hung on the cross with the mocking label, ‘King of the Jews’ over him and suffered so that we can all receive the label ‘protected and forgiven’.