Following a letter issued by the Vatican, last month U.S. bishops were instructed to remove the name Yahweh from songs and prayers. Citing a longstanding tradition within the Jewish community to never speak that name, the Catholic Church felt the need to restore a sense of reverence to the “proper name” of God.
Now, I don’t use the term Yahweh very often. It has less to do with any sort of holy reverence than it does the fact that I’m a 32-year-old American dude living in the 21st century. But it does bring up questions of whether the names we use to refer to God really matter to his ears.
I’ve been in conversations recently with people who are offended by those who interpret the term Abba to mean “daddy.” I know missionaries in Muslim countries who have wondered if it’s ok to translate the words “God” and “jesus” as Allah and Isa when communicating with indigenous people.
In our home and with our children, only the term “Oh my God” is really forbidden – along with its bastard half-brother “Oh my gosh.” But then again, I’ve always kind of interpreted God’s command not to take his name in vain a little differently than most.
Do you think God really cares what names we use to identify him by? Or was this post just an elaborate excuse to play one of my favorite U2 songs?
U2 – Yahweh