Animals have their own way of “marking” what is theirs, and so do people. It’s our names! If one stops to consider the history of the use of our names as “markers,” it is quite pervasive.
I remember my mother marking my name in ink inside my jacket and boots; and later sewing on all my clothes laundry name tags when I went off to the seminary. The signature of my name has become the mark of my approval or acceptance. I have a vibrating metal engraver to mark my possessions with my name. Someday my name will be carved in a piece of granite to mark where my remains lay. There are lots of others examples throughout life of a name as a marker of what belongs to someone.
Of course I, or my mom, are not the only ones who do this; everyone does – even You! You write Your name on what belongs to You. Thomas Merton says, le pointe viergeis the consciousness of God’s name written in us. God has used a permanent marker, has sewn into our very being, has autographed, has signed, has engraved, carved and chiseled His name in us. We belong to Him just as my boots, jacket, lunchbox, checking account, and headstone belong to me because they were marked with my name.
My children are marked with my surname just as I am marked with that name from those to whom I belong. But we are all marked with God’s name. We all belong to Him – unless we run away from home or disown our heritage. But even then...
Now, the thought that God has written His name in me and tattooed my spirit with His mark indicates my worth and should have a profound effect upon me despite the fact that it may be invisible to others. Consider how I might operate if I went through life wearing sandwich boards that, on both sides, said “Property of God,” or, “This Human Belongs to God.” But You don’t advertize in this way. You’d much prefer that the way I live my life advertizes the One to whom I belong and who has mysteriously marked me forever with His name.
That leads precisely to the question I need to ask myself from time to time: Do I act as if Your name is upon me; as if I belong to You?