I felt about as far from the Old Testament as I could have gotten. I was floating in a chlorinated pool with depths ranging from 3-12 feet, my head back, feet elevated, certified lifeguards towering above me, and Today’s Country Music singing behind me.
My friend says that he has done a lot of research via the YouTube and has figured out that country music of old just isn’t the same as country music today. We had gotten into a discussion about Old Tyme music several months before and he had set out to uncover the change of sound. Up until that moment, I had forgotten about our conversation we had one day at work a while back.
He stated his hypothesis void of any context clues.
“It’s the neck stretch”
“Huh?” I was deep in thought and I couldn’t have been farther from the Grand Ole Opry if I’d’ve been in Australia.
“It’s the neck stretch. Back in the day the Country Singers used to stretch out their necks and it’d make that twang sound. They don’t stretch their necks anymore.”
As the country music played in the background, bass kicking and drums drumming, words of I don’t even know what but I do know I didn’t hear a thing about cheatin’ hearts, cotton pickin’, country cookin’, or Mamas. There was no Jesus, prayer or lost loves as far as I could tell. No semblance of church choir or preaching’ in the lyrics.
I was pondering on the neck stretch and how a lot of life seems to revolve around a lack of neck stretching; it seems folks used to be willing to put their neck on the line for their neighbor but that happens less and less these days. It made me especially thankful for the Ultimate Neck Stretcher who died for me and for the entirety of the world.
In my imagination I was meandering somewhere between Nashville and Calvary when the Old Testament role call behind me jolted me into the moment, the stray beach ball that landed squarely on my forehead most assuredly aided in jolting me back to the present.
I giggled. The bearer of those names were tiny toddler and teenage frames clothed in shark swim trunks and modest tankinis, not the Old Testament Players for whom they likely had been named.
With my eyes closed to shield the sun, I smiled and thought of the gravity of those names and the legacies they carry.
A sister of Moses who celebrated beautifully that God had saved her and her people, having just crossed the sea on land and escaped the pursuing Egyptians.
One born to a barren woman, who when God called said, “Here I am, your servant is listening.”
A prophet who called down fire from heaven and consumed a waterlogged sacrifice to demonstrate that One Jehovah God is more powerful than the multitude of prophets of Baal.
A barren woman promised she would dedicate her child to the Lord, and dedicate him she did. The very same son who was ready and willing when the Lord called.
Shakespeare asked the question, “What’s in a name?” in Romeo and Juliet. I have pondered that a few times this summer myself. What does a name matter? As my mind tends to do it wandered to a particular verse in the King’s Book. A verse that talks specifically of the King’s Name.
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There is but One name that the whole of Creation will bow, and that is the Name of Jesus. There is but One Name that has been the bearer of the greatest burden on history, and that is the Name of Jesus.