Food 4 Thought: Thinking about Identity...

Pilgrim recently took over as Senior Leader of St. Mary Abbot's Church SL in Kensington, and owns the Coffee Shop on Park Lane. Today, he writes some thoughts about the idea of identity.

Pilgrim's Coffee Shop, opposite the Jelly Bean. 
Hello London! Pilgrim here. Today, I want to talk about identity. Who am I? Why am I alive? What is my purpose? People ask that question all the time. In my time on Second Life, I have come to realise that identity is a major factor among those of us who venture online. We create our avatars, we give them a name, and often spend copious amounts of lindens perfecting them. Here, we can be anything we want to be; as young or as beautiful as we wish. In SL we have found a virtual holy grail, and the fountain of youth.

Hard at work writing...
In the bible, names are very important. Many of the people that God spoke to not only encountered His power or love, but were also given a new name. One guy who received a new name was a man named Jacob. He was renowned for being a con-artist (that’s what Jacob means) for swindling his brother out of the family inheritance; a real trickster. However, one night, he comes face to face with God, who begins to physically wrestle him. At the end of the fight, God gives him a new name: Israel, because he had wrestled with God and with man and overcome. Jacob then goes onto father the twelve tribes of that nation (hence its name); on his deathbed proclaiming the fate of each of his sons. The words that he speaks over them define their respective tribes fates perfectly.

What does your name say about you? Does it define you? Have the names other people given defined who you are today? A bully at school, a violent parent or spouse? Verbal abuse is crippling, especially if you are convinced what they say is true. And yet God says differently. Listen to the words spoken to God’s people in Isaiah:

Overlooking the Jelly Bean.
“But now says the Lord that created you, O Jacob,
and he that formed you, O Israel,
Fear not: for I have redeemed you,
I have called you by your name; you are mine.” 

No matter what we go through in life, God declares that if we put are trust in Him, these names others have given us have no power over our lives. He calls us by our real name, not the ones we have acquired. Through the power of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we can become children of God, called by His name, and shaped by His DNA. If indeed we are created by God and formed in His image, then surely the things He says drown out the other voices seeking to determine our destiny? Maybe it’s time for a name change?

To find out more, pop into Pilgrim's Coffee Shop on Park Lane...
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