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No Other Name

by Eric Elkin

…no other name has been given among humans through which we must be saved.
— Acts 4:12

“Medic! Medic!” were the words children screamed every time we played the game, Bonkers, at camp. It was a name you called upon when captured by one of the “Bonkers.” The “Bonkers” were staff who ran around with socks full of flour. If they hit one of the players with their sock, the player would have to stand, frozen in place, until a “Medic” came and freed them.

The “Medics” were staff who walked around “healing” the players. Typically, “Medics” would ask the frozen players to do something, sing a song or do a dance, to be freed. Once the task was done, the players were free to go, until caught again. The ultimate goal was to be first to visit a set number of stations. The “Bonkers” stood in their way, and the “Medics” offered salvation.

Even as the executive director I was powerless to influence the game. No other name could free those bound by a sort of paralysis on the playing field. 

It was a bizarre game. One which quickly becomes more uncomfortable once you describe it to the outside world.

I used to imagine myself standing before a judge and jury explaining the game of Bonkers. “You see, your honor, adult staff chase children around trying to hit them with a sock full of flour…” To which someone would ask, “And, what does this have to do with teaching the Christian faith?” As I am reflecting on this morning’s reading, I would say everything.

What if we considered the “Bonkers” to be the forces which produce the tribulations in our life. The kind of events which often seem to pursue us and leave us emotionally and spiritually paralyzed. We yell out, “Medic,” for whoever we hope to help us. Maybe it is a friend, an actual doctor, or God. Who is the name you call out for at these times and what must you do to be free?

In today’s reading, Peter and John remind us, “No other name,” can save us.  However, we are not invited to call out the name of Jesus like a lucky charm or magic potion. The power is not the name, but the one working through the name. It is an invitation to call out to the God who works through a name, a person, and a voice to help us be free, at no cost, other than words.

Click to read: Acts 4: 5-12

Reflection Questions:

  • When have you called upon a name for help?
  • Whose name did you call?
  • How do you react to the name of “Jesus”?
  • Who offers you freedom? And, how do you call out for it?

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