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What’s in a name?  that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare, I’ve been to his home in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Midlands of England.  I’ve seen the site of his Globe theatre in London, and have read a number of his plays.  The above quote is one that I’ve heard countless times with my history in theatre and studies in literature.  But it is one that I never really considered until recently.

Shakespeare’s works are found by many to be difficult to understand and decipher meaning from.  I remember spending many months dissecting the work of Othello in my senior English class in high school, wondering why the man would choose to speak through his characters in such cryptic prose.  Just three years prior, I had studied Romeo and Juliet and though very little of it made sense either, the quote where Juliet argues that names of things hold very little significance, that it is what they truly are, their purpose and meaning that matter, that quote made sense.

Just as cryptic as the acts of Shakespeare’s plays, are some lyrics to songs that I listen to on the radio or through the CD player in my car.  I often laugh at myself for some of the words that I believe the artist is singing when I finally learn the right words.

This year has been an intentional act of seeking to know Him better.  I’ve sought after knowledge of what life was like when He walked the earth, what His character was like, and how He conducted Himself when in the company of His closest friends and disciples.  And so I find it strange that we have taken something so personal, such as His name, chosen by God and announced by the angel Gabriel, and changed it from its original spelling and pronunciation.

The English transliteration of His name, Jesus, is written in bold letters in our churches, our homes and in familiar worship songs.  But the Aramaic, Yeshua, it is unfamiliar.  So imagine my surprise when a, what I believed to be familiar, song surprised me as its cryptic lyrics were finally revealed to me, as I drove to work just the other morning.

We’re a people who love to see Your presence here
In the chaos of life, God let Your name be near

Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the power
Yours is the glory God forever

And then I belted out the chorus that I thought I knew by heart; one that reminds me of Mike Weaver’s visit to my church in the fall and the presence of the Lord was so full during his time of worship:

You are welcome here
Have Your way come and glorify Your name
Yes, you are, You are welcome

But then suddenly the breaks were applied (not to the car, just in my mind) and I heard the words for what they really are:

You are welcome here
Have Your way come and glorify Your name
Yes, you are Yeshua, You are welcome

I started the song from the beginning.  Sure enough, His name was in there.  Just as His friends called him.  Just as His mother whispered in the quiet of a stable and cried at the foot of the cross.

Yeshua, you are welcome.

Sure Shakespeare writes, what’s in a name, but doesn’t Yeshua sound so sweet?

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