“God knows your name,” the minister’s bright, authoritative voice asked through the radio speaker. “But do you know His?”
I yawned and stretched, “Morning, Lord.”
“See,” I told the radio. “I know His name.”
The voice continued, “We give those we love special names. When I was a boy…”
He continued his story while I wrapped myself in my navy, terrycloth robe and padded off to the bathroom. On my return, the minister inquired, “Do you love God so much, you have a name that only the two of you share? Are you that close to Him?” I tuned to a classical station and listened to Haydn as I dressed for church.
Huh? I silently queried my Friend. The lector’s voice continued to ring in my ear after he had returned to his seat. I glanced back down at the service leaflet:
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”*
Abba? That’s You?
But do you call me that? The words formed themselves in my mind and resounded like the peal of one of the bells in the church tower.
My forehead furrowed, That’s what Paul calls You.
I reread the passage from Romans again. The words, “we cry” held my attention. Hmm, I mused. I haven’t included myself in “we.” I tried to focus on the homily but my eyes returned to the leaflet. My lips pushed themselves together in a small moue. Abba doesn’t mean much to me. It just doesn’t.
The creed and prayers of the faithful brought me to my feet and captured my attention but at the announcements, I found my eyes drawn back to Romans 8. So do You want me to give You a personal name? I mutely asked. Something other than Lord, or God, or Friend? The word “Father” caught my eye. Something that means Father? A warm tingle of a divine hug suffused my arms and back. “Okay,” I whispered as I stood for the consecration.
After communion, I knelt, my forehead resting on my folded hands, whispering, “D’Abby, thank You for feeding me…” My head snapped up. “What did I just say?” I whispered. “D’Abby? What’s that?” I rested my head on my clasped hands and pleaded, “What’s D’Abby?” The warm tingle held me close. “It’s not Daddy. I wouldn’t call You that. It’s not Papa. He was my father. And it’s not Abba either.” I gazed up at the crucifix and then lowered my head again. “Gee!” I whispered. “Gee!”