My mother’s name was McClay, and I used to think that the name “McClay” meant “son of the earth.” It made me feel as though I came from some very common stock, of pitcher people from long ago, who made jars of clay for my Scottish ancestors. Because my father’s family were all Stuarts, who were once Scottish kings and queens, I tended to be a wee bit snooty regarding my heritage when I was much younger. I would rather have royal blue blood running through my veins than to be taken from old grey clay, any day.
Podcast version here
But when I researched the name McClay I discovered it had nothing to do with clay pots or working with mud. You see McClay is an anglicized form of the old Gaelic name “Mac An Leigh,” which means “son of the Healer.” My mother’s heritage didn’t come from clay workers; they were instead the ancient shamans, medicine men, and pagan healers of the old Gaelic tribes. Perhaps instead of royal blood in my veins, I’ve got pastoral blood from my mother’s side.
Job 33:6 I am just like you before God; I too have been taken from clay.
No matter what my heritage may actually be, or how fanciful I think it is, I am humbled by this one thought: that we are all created equal by God and, as far as the Bible is concerned, we are all made from dust and clay. In God’s eyes, it matters not how noble or powerful, wealthy or esteemed, famous or infamous that we are in the world; as far as He is concerned, we are all His creatures, whose purpose is to praise God and enjoy Him forever.
We are all sons and daughters of clay, yet we are also destined to become sons and daughters of God through the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Son. By placing our faith in Christ, we are not left to sink into the miry clay of darkness and oblivion; instead we are given the sacred opportunity of rising out of the mud, of being cleansed by Christ’s blood, and being led into the everlasting, holy, and joyful presence of God. Then, in my opinion, we all become the equivalent of immortal McClays – sons and daughters of the Healer of the world. My mother would just love that.
Prayer: Lord God, we all have different heritages and ancestry, backgrounds and cultures. And yet we have the same source of life, which comes from You alone. Thank You for allowing us to share this wonderful creation that is all around us. And we praise You for the glorious opportunity of experiencing this forever, through the noble sacrifice and royal blood of Your Son and our King, Jesus Christ. In His Name, we pray. Amen.