Tuesday, 30 July 2013

To be ... and ... ever TO BE...

"Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors--has sent me to you.
This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations."
 Exodus 3:15 (NLT)

Reading
Exodus 3

'Yahweh' is the most sacred of all names for the Jewish people hence it is represented as YHWH. Etymological exegetes have given the name a derivation as "Ehyeh asher Ehyeh" where "hayah" means "to be*."Which could be read as YHWH as someone who is "to be" which could be interpreted as a complete opening towards an ever expanding horizon to the future of multitude of possibilities.

In reading through the whole narration, we encounter a God who is willing to reveal himself to Moses in order to liberate the people of Israel. Now, let's closely watch the word "I AM" in the narration. At first Moses responds to the calling from the burning bush as "here I am" (Ex 3:4). And he goes on to say "who am I" which could be an intriguing reversal of his question to God which is underlying as "Who are you." Finally Moses gets the name of God as "I AM Who I AM." Which is both presenting of Moses as "here I AM" and the questioning as "who I Am." Now the naming of God which is rendered as "I am Who I am" in English is actually Hayah or Yahweh which means "to be."

Moses stands in the presence of the Divine who has revealed himself in history and time to liberate the oppressed. And the calling of Moses is not a singular calling but a constant everlasting call which is continues for everyone who thirsts for the liberation of the other. Thus the calling "Moses, Moses" which is continues and echoes throughout history (Ex 3:4). The calling brings the called to the presence of the "to be." Here YHWH is the presence of the future which is liberating and with full of potential for future which is brimming with vigour.

Divine name is the possibility of future for all humankind. The future which liberating and ever-widening brightness of hope. This God is the God of all "to be's", which is yet to be and fullness to be. People in bondage were the given the name of God as "to be.." which is actually "to be liberated", "to be set free" and "to be-come." This is God is our God who is willing "to be" with us and to possibilize a future full of freedom. In Richard Kearney's words God is the "God of the Possible*."

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* - cf. Meaning and Etymology - http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14346-tetragrammaton
* - Kearney, Richard. The God Who May Be A Hermeneutic of Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

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