Somewhere around 1980, a musician by the name of Peter Jones was in his parents’ attic when he came across a bundle of very old letters. They were written to his great-great-grandfather, John Hunt, who had emigrated from County Mayo in Ireland in the 1850s, by his father, Bryan Hunt.
There are lots of stories in the Bible where someone’s name gets changed.
Abram becomes Abraham when God fulfills his promise to make Abraham the father of nations.
Jacob becomes Israel—“one who struggles with God”—after spending a night wrestling with his conscience, an angel, the spirit of the stream he’s camping beside, or God himself.
We have been dramatically reminded that even those Gothic cathedrals, built nearly a millennium ago and standing mostly intact ever since, are not permanent. The mortar that holds the stones together will eventually crumble and the walls will fall. We hope it isn’t in our lifetime, but the reality is that nothing built by humans is eternal. Nothing is permanent.
When Jesus told parables, he told them using images that were familiar to the people he was speaking to.
He told stories about shepherds and sheep, about planting and harvesting, about working and getting paid, about bread-baking—he told stories that started with something his hearers would recognize.