Monday February 16th 2015

In Scottish the meaning of the name Keith is: dweller in the Wood. From the battleground. A surname and place name.

I think about my name quite often, I know that I was given this name because of my grandmother’s hometown, where she lived, where she was, where she died. In a very real sense my grandmother to me is still there, I very rarely find myself in Keith, (the town) but I love going back there, I love seeing my Grandmother’s home, changed yet the same, walking in the woods to the waterfall where I used to walk with her and her dogs.

Keith High Street

I think about my name, I was named after the place, but I wonder sometimes about the other meanings, what does it mean to live in the woods? Or to come from the battleground? Who was the first one to be called “Keith” what sort of person was he? Does it have anything to do with me?

I have this picture of a wild maned man, who kept himself to himself, who only emerged from the forest when there was a fight to be finished and then he went back to his wild ways. Was he someone to rely upon or was he the one that everyone else subtly moved away from when he sat down at the table? I for one think that he was the dependable sort; someone who knew what was needed and helped wherever he could and helped bring about a victory if he had the power to do so.

Where does your name come from? In what ways has it shaped you? Do you think it makes a difference anyway? In the Bible names have a significant role to play, they could record aspects of a person’s birth, Moses means to “draw out”, or a parent’s reaction to their child, Isaac means “laughter”.

Sometimes names are prophetic, telling of what that person will do, perhaps none more so important to me and you is the naming of Jesus “the Lord saves” his purpose and his life are summed up in his name, I know that without him, I would be lost in the wilderness (in the forest or even in the battleground) I know that he has found and rescued me, he offers the same to all who are lost; the broken hearted, the bereft but also to the confident and those who seem to have it all, the offer is the same, “follow me and I will show the unforced rhythms of grace” Matthew 11.

That is not the end of the name game however. In revelation chapter 2 v 17, Jesus says he will give us a new name that no–one else will know about, it makes me think that already God knows us so much more than anyone else, that he has a new name waiting for us, one that sums us up perfectly, one that will be for us and us alone, one that shows his abundant love for us and speaks of the life that we will live with him.

What is your name? What will your name be?

Revelation 2 v 17 “I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it”

Keith Mack St Johns and Kings Park

Keith Mack is minister of St John’s and King’s Park Church of Scotland in Dalkeith.

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