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The Psalms are a beautifully complex collection of poems, all of them pivoting around the notion of a just God, who gave his law to a people called by his Name.  In the more contemplative Psalms, the psalmists reflect on the order of creation and how the law of God is inherent in all of creation - God working out his nature in "our" nature.  Psalm 104 is one exquisite example of this thread of thinking.  The spiritual quality of wonder and amazement finds its natural response in worship.  It is awe that lies at the heart of contemplative spirituality.

Perspectives on Practical Spirituality
The Name
Creational (contemplative) spirituality
Frank Müller
The previous chapter: In the Many-to-Many Volume 24, I defined spirituality as the person born out of interpersonal relationships.  All spirituality finds its ultimate and absolute source in the Triune God.  Both creation and the Bible point to this relationship, acting as maps of God's love.  Human spirituality can, at best, be an answer to the Word; in our fallenness, we do not and indeed cannot initiate the relationship.
It was in fairy stories that I first divined the potency of the words, and the wonder of the things, such as stone, and wood, and iron; tree and grass; house and fire; bread and wine.
JRR Tolkien, On Fairy-stories
"What's in a name?" laments the star-crossed Juliet in Shakespeare's famous tragedy.  "That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet."  Her despairing question highlights socie-ty's reliance on names to summarise the essence of the object being named.  At the same time, she sees in them a mere human construct, randomly pasted onto the essence, as it were.  Where do names come from?  Are they merely convenient symbols?  Romeo and Juliet were cannon fodder for a capricious family feud - on opposite sides of warring factions, thanks to oaths made before they were born and sealed by the names they received at birth.  It is against this involuntary identity and its consequences that Juliet rebels.  Yet the fatalism that underlies Romeo and Juliet (and our times) is not the whole picture.  And the importance of names has everything to do with the bigger picture.
Naming is more than a merely human construct, or a convenient way of labelling objects.  It often degenerates into simple labelling, but this is due to the brokenness of reality, not due to the naming itself.  Naming is in essence a spiritual action, since it implies a personal interaction with the subject being named.  Labelling is anti-spiritual, since it depersonalises its object.  For names to be useful, creation has to have an underlying orderly structure.  Without names, speech becomes impos-ible.  Nouns are the most general of names, by which we classify our surroundings, whereas specific names point to unique relationships.  In names, we see both an orientation and an attempt at orientation, which is central to the contemplation of the work and person of God.  The rightful response of the soul to being orientated is adoration, awe, worship (the "fear of God" of the Old Testament).  If I know who I am, where I come from and where I am going, I should respond to this knowledge with joy.
When God creates the heavens and the earth, He is faced in Genesis 1:2 with an earth that is "formless and void".  It is a situation of apparent chaos, with-out borders or identifiable content.  Yet this chaos is only apparent, since it is born out of God's will and He is still in relation to his creation - His Spirit is "hovering over the waters."  The creation of earth is sometimes interpreted (both in some Judaic as well as in some Christian interpretations) as a "Chaoskampf", a struggle between God and the formless darkness.  In this reading, God wrests creation from the grip of chaos.  This is an interesting angle of interpretation, though care should be taken not to see the "chaos" as being outside or opposite to the will or control of God.  To fight back the chaos, God uses a special technique:  He names things, and they separate from the chaos, stepping forward as if out of the wings onto the stage.  "Let there be light," He says, and the light separates from the shapeless dark.  The entire creation account is interspersed with names.  As each item is called forth, it separates into an identifiable entity with identifiable limits.  Thus, in one and the same action, God addresses both the formlessness and the emptiness.
The creation of man, male and female, goes a step further.  Here is a creature called from the mud (Gen. 2:7), bearing the imago mundi (image of earth), yet at the same time called to bear the imago Dei (image of God).  Here is a calling that lies beyond the physical, natural realm, a calling to reflect the creative deity - in a sense a "calling out of God" as much as a "calling out of earth".  The Spirit that was hovering over the waters is now breathed into man - man is infused with personality and the necessity to relate.  It is insightful that one of Adam's first tasks as God's representative on earth is the naming of all the animals.  Instead of being mere "living creatures", they become well-defined groups.  Adam thus participates in God's creative activity (in the words of Tolkien, he becomes a 'sub-creator').  And when God presents him with his (slightly modified) rib, one of his first reactions is to name her, too, in a poetic rhapsody.
This principle of naming - "calling forth" - becomes one of the major biblical themes.  We only need to think of Abram who is renamed Abraham ("father of a multitude"), and Sarai, who becomes Sarah ("princess").  God gives Isaac his name ("laughter"), and renames Jacob to "Israel" ("ruling / struggling with God").  Clearly, names were not symbols detached from space and time.  Each name had a significant meaning attached to it.  Thus names simultaneously point to the temporal and the eternal, the natural and the other-natural.  Names are an integral part of what it means to live as persons in a created world, and at the same time are a witness to our kinship with its Creator.  God continues calling Israel and the other nations throughout the entire Old Testament.  In his relationship with Israel, this calling finds its pinnacle in the law He gives to them in the Sinai desert.  It once again calls out of their cultural chaos well-defined limits to behaviour and calls towards a certain lifestyle.  In this crucible, a unique culture is formed.  The Ten Command-ments start off with a clear identification (naming) of the authority by which the law is given: "I am the Lord your God" (Ex. 20:2).
This Name ("I am") forms the cornerstone of the law He gives to the nation He has called.  His name is holy, and may not be misused.  We tend to equate "misuse" with "use as a casual swear-word." The reality of the command is, how-ever, more complex.  The nation of Israel should not see the fact that they were called by God (and thus bore the authority of God on their actions) as a guarantee of God's blessing.  "After all," they could have argued, "we can do what we want.  God will not punish us, since it will reflect badly on his name."  As Christians, we are subject to the same temptation.  God does not give his Name to us to glorify us.  It is possible - and tempting - to pronounce the Name of the Lord over our various enterprises.  How often do we not hear a glib, "God told me that" We speak of "Christian education" or "a Christian nation".  The implica-tion is that this is the final authority and no-one dare resist what is being offered.  God is clear:  His Name over the nation of Israel is a gift of grace, not a good luck charm to be used for personal profit.  The epitome of bumper-sticker Christianity, the diagrammatic "fish" you find on the rear end of many cars, is a clear case in point of people often using the Name of God in vain.  It is devoid of meaning (is the car a Christian?) and thus its witness.  In fact, looking at the driving style of some of these "fish" cars, they are dis-honouring the name of God.  Or take our churches:  if a local congregation is not obedient to God, it is using the Name of God in vain, and will not go unpunished.  Being called bears with it tremendous responsibi-lities, as Paul explains in Romans.
The Psalms are a beautifully complex collection of poems, all of them pivoting around the notion of a just God, who gave his law to a people called by his Name.  In the more contemplative Psalms, the psalmists reflect on the order of creation and how the law of God is inherent in all of creation - God working out his nature in "our" nature.  Psalm 104 is one exquisite example of this thread of thinking.  The spiritual quality of wonder and amazement finds its natural response in worship.  It is awe that lies at the heart of contemplative spirituality.

The Big Picture Volume 1, Lent 1999 p.14