On this day in 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 78. Eisenhower was known by many names and titles in his lifetime. To his family and friends, he was “Ike.” During World War I, he was Commanding Officer of a tank training camp in Pennsylvania. In the 1930s, Eisenhower was an executive in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War.
During World War II, Eisenhower kept rising in the army ranks until he became Supreme Commander of the Allied forces. In England, he gave the orders to commence D-Day, the Allied invasion of France, on June 6, 1944. “O.K. We’ll go ahead!” he said.
After the war, President Truman appointed Ike as the Supreme Commander of the recently-formed NATO forces. From 1953-1961, he was “President Eisenhower” as he guided the United States through the early years of the Cold War and school integration.
The Church knows many names for Christ. Some give needed rest and cool guilt-fevered minds: Good Shepherd,1 Friend of Sinners,2 Great Physician,3 Savior 4. Other names bend stubborn knees and crack stony hearts: King of Kings,5 Alpha and Omega,6 Son of God,7 Lord.8 There are titles that bind him to our flesh: Born of Woman,9 Servant,10 Man of Sorrows,11 Carpenter.12 There are designations that impel us to confess his awesome deity: God With Us,13 the Word,14 Anointed One,15 Resurrection and Life.16
In the end, though, only one name will we praise: the Name above all names.17
The Name whispered by Gabriel to a stunned virgin.
The Name on the lips of the apostles even as a hostile empire threatened to rip out their tongues.
The Name that one day will ripple across the fabric of the universe, sending every creature to its knees, opening every mouth to confess in awe, “Jesus.”
Jesus: what a Name! what a Man! what a God!