What's in a name? Names can be very descriptive. They can give a clear indication as to what we do. Three examples.
This morning's reading from Genesis describes the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These were evil places that had abandoned all desire for God and were known for their blatant and wanton sexual immorality. There was no desire for righteousness to be found there, so God sent fire and brimstone to destroy those places. One of the great sins of sexual immorality is called sodomy, and those involved are sometimes called sodomites. Just what I would want my city known for throughout time.
Two days ago on CSPAN I heard a civil war lecture regarding Union General Hooker. Part of what was said involved the lengthy time he spent with his troops in DC training and doing other things. The speaker said that in the area in which his troops were camped, a few blocks between Pennsylvania Avenue and now Constitution Avenue before development, there were a major concentration of women whose "employment" had them take care of the sexual needs of those soldiers under Hooker's command. These "ladies of the night" became known as ... hookers. The name supposedly stuck. Not a proud moment for the distinguished Hooker family.
And then there are those in Antioch who were for the first time called Christian because they were recognized as followers of Jesus Christ and because, as followers of Christ, they were known by their love for one another. Over the years that name has stuck. It is a designation that we, who bear it, can truly be proud of. Who we are, how we are known, often rests in what we do - good or bad. Let us rejoice in this wonderfully life giving moniker of CHRISTIAN.