Monday, November 17, 2014

Called By Name

Last year, in a conversation about giving money to people who are begging, someone, my friend Louise I think, said that when she gives money to someone,she asks him to pray for her. I thought this was a great idea, and I have found that although some people get a really shocked look on their faces when I do this, and mumble something in an embarrassed manner, most people agree pretty enthusiastically. Then one day it occurred to me that these people have names. So I started introducing myself, and asking them what their names were. There is almost always an immediate change in the atmosphere. We're smiling. We become two people having a conversation instead of participants in a rather awkward exchange. Occasionally, someone is so overjoyed that someone cares who they are, that I can tell that my acknowledgement of him as a person has become more important than whatever money I have given him.

About a month ago, I went to the drive-thru at Taco Bell and had to pull forward to wait for them to bring me my food. While I was waiting, I got into a conversation with a man who was standing there in the drizzling rain with a sign asking for help. I told him my name, and asked what his name was. He gave me a big smile, and said, "People call me Chris, but my name is Christopher--you know it sounds like Lucifer." And I replied, "Well, but Lucifer is the devil and Christopher means 'Christ-bearer.'" He smiled some more and proudly said, "That's right. Christ-bearer." 

I think that we all have a need to be called by our name. It lets us know that the people around us see us as people and not just anonymous ciphers. Our name is even more beautiful in the voice of those we love. It might not be our given name, but a nickname, or Mamma, or some pet name used only by our beloved.

The Lord calls us by name. We don't hear with our ears, but somehow in the deepest part of our souls, we know that He is calling. The name He speaks isn't the name that others use, but we recognize it because the name that He calls us is that which we were created to be. It is the very essence of ourselves. And on those rare occasions when we are still enough, we hear that name, and for that moment, we can almost see through that veil that separates us from that which we most desire.



  1. So beautiful. Scripture in Isaiah (fear not ...I have called you by name), Revelation (new name), and Jesus' calling of Mary's name in the garden -- all so beautiful --

  2. I don't think I've ever had the experience described in that last paragraph. I hope I will someday. I have had the experience of exchanging names with a beggar, though, and it is moving.

    1. Well, I probably should have been more specific, but I don't have time right now. More when I have time to think.