Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Names

Psalms: (120), 121, 122, 123 * 124, 125, 126 (127); Ezekiel 33:21-33; 1 John 2:1-11; Matthew 9:35-10:4.

I am bad at remembering names. And I don't mean just with people I have only recently met, I mean with folks I have known a dozen years, two dozen years. Recently I was walking my dog Allie, (notice I got her name right), and I met another individual from the neighborhood who was walking her dog. The dogs met, sniffed, the owners watched the dogs and started small conversation, with one of the first questions being, What kind of breed is your dog. No problem there, I can answer that one, A Bernese Mountain dog I say proudly. Then Male or female? I respond, She's a female. I should know better by now, but then came the clincher.....What's her name? And I'm struck dumb..... Of course I know my own dog's name, I just cant dredge it up at that particular moment. I refer to it as brain freeze. I just completely shut down, and the more panicky I get, the more impossible it is for me to remember. I will sometimes throw out one of my deceased dogs names, as they seem to come to me more readily then Allie's name does. This is a cause for some embarrassment when I meet this individual again, and they call Allie by the wrong name....The name I gave them the last time we met.

Similar things can happen on the post-Eucharist handshake as folks are leaving worship. Or jist as worse, at coffee hour. This can be so frustrating as I know people's names, and I also know how important it is to call people by their name: to recognize them and to let them know you recognize them and know them. Praise you Jesus for name tags.....which not everyone wears!

Names are important. Matthew names the 12 disciples for us today: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot. Names are important. Being known, recognized, is part of being in community together, being loved, just as God knows us, recognizes us and loves us. Someday I hope to figure out this "name thing". Until then, I will continue to struggle and hope people wear their name tags. But I have sure confidence that even while I fumble a name, God still knows that person, recognizes that person and loves that person.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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