The Name of the Father

By John McNeil


A poem/parable/dance/drama on the theme of the Third Commandment, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."

Note on performance

In its original presentation, the music and narration were pre-recorded. The poem was danced to, and the parable was treated as a mime. The artists exited at the conclusion of the parable, before the final verses were read.


The names of God below were read as a repeating litany behind the main narration
In the beginning was the Word.
And the Word had a name.
I am who I am.

In the beginning
in the beginning
in the beginning
in the name of the Father

In the beginning
the name created the heavens
and the earth

In the beginning was the Word
and the name was the Word.
And the name was with the Father.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the first-born of all creation.
By him all things were created,
and in Him all things hold together.

in the name of the Father
in the name of the Father

The earth was without form and void.
And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved
over the face of the water.

in the name of the Father
in the name of the Father

I am who I am.
This is my name forever.
And thus I am to be remembered
throughout all generations.

You shall not take the name
of the Lord your God in vain.
You shall not use the name of the Lord
lightly, falsely, profanely.
For the Lord will count you guilty
if you use his name in vain.

O Lord, how majestic is your name
in all the earth.

Our Father in heaven
Holy be your name.
Our Father in heaven
Holy be your name
Holy be your name
Holy be your name
Holy be your name
Holy be your name

in the name of the Father
in the name of the Father


Jehovah Jireh

El Shaddai

Jehovah Nissi


Shammah - the Lord who is there

Our righteousness


Eternal God

Father of Lights

Our fortress

Heavenly Father

Holy One of Israel

Rose of Sharon

Living God


Lord of Hosts

Lord of Lords

The Most High

Our Father in Heaven

Lord of Sabbath

Our Shield


Eternal Spirit

Holy Spirit

Power of the Highest

Spirit of Wisdom

Lord of Life


Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace

Father of Glory


There was once a Father who had a child in whom he delighted greatly.

Before the child was even born, the Father began preparing for his birth a house of wonders. Every good thing was there, waiting for the day of the child's arrival. And when the child was born, what joy overflowed the household. The Father could scarcely contain himself.

"My first born!" he cried. "My image reproduced."

"Because I am his father, and he is my child, he shall bear my name proudly, and in the fulness of time he shall inherit all that is mine. All that I am, and all that I have, shall be his also."

The Father nurtured the child, and poured all of himself into his upbringing. And as the child grew, the Father taught him the key to his inheritance.

"You bear my name," said the Father. "That is your passport and your wealth. Wherever you go, whatever you need, because you are my child, you have only to say my name and the way will be opened for you."

And the child rejoiced in the name of the Father. He would call to his Father in love, and the Father delighted in responding.

But as time went on, the Father noticed changes. At first it was just small things: the child would ask, without using the name of the Father, or take without saying thank you. The Father would catch a laugh here, or a sideways look there ... and the laugh was a snigger, and the look not of pure love.

In time, the child stopped even asking, but demanded. "Why do you try to make bargains, when I would give everything freely?" asked the Father. But the child did not understand, and before long left home.

The child took the Father's name into the world, but it had become a plaything to be kicked around the clubs and pubs and the workplace. He even changed his own name so he would not be identified as the child of the Father. And because the name wrongly used did not open the doors as promised, it became a curse, spat with bitterness at the ill hand the child felt that life had dealt him.

"Did you not know that my name was also your identity," the Father whispered. "In turning your back on it, you have robbed yourself."

And the Father wept.

Tears of blood.

From the tears of the Father, a new child sprang. A child who loved the Father, and delighted in his name.

And the Father said, "Go into the world and find your brother who is lost. Bring him home to me, that he might rediscover my deep love for him and reclaim his inheritance. And the child went with great joy.


Though Jesus was God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness. He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.


© John McNeil 1998
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.
He may be contacted at:
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 8024, New Zealand.