April 28, 2021

When our sons were young, we had several camping adventures at the shore (the Atlantic Ocean beach if you aren’t from Pennsylvania). The first time we went the boys were very active 3- and 4-year-olds, at that age when looking away for a few seconds could mean disaster. One time I turned to hug my parents goodbye after a visit. I turned around and found 3-year-old Dan climbing onto the roof of my father’s car.

Rod and I were afraid that they could wander off in the blink of an eye at the beach or the campground. The best in that case was getting lost. Our imagines conjured up much worse scenarios. They knew their first and last names and our names, “Mom” and “Dad”, but those titles would do little to reconnect us.

Rod made signs with indelible ink on pieces of cloth that we pinned to their T-shirts. The signs included all the necessary information, parents’ names, campground name and campsite number. Thankfully, we didn’t lose sight of them, we never pricked them with the pins, and they were too young to be embarrassed or traumatized by their special signs.

I guess hospitals worry about the same thing. You can’t even get past admissions without getting a personalize wrist band. When I had surgery in February, I was thankful for that band, since I knew no one and no one knew me. It was comforting when I woke from the anesthesia to hear my name being spoken. I was not forgotten. I was not lost. But even if I got misplaced in the hospital, the One who really matters knows my name. “Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by name – you are mine. (Isaiah 43)

The old TV series Cheers’ theme song, Where Everyone Knows Your Name ended with these words, “You want to go where people know people are all the same. You want to go where everybody knows your name

What would happen in this community, in this world, if we learned the names of the people next door, the people we pass on the street, the children who play in our neighborhood (according to Jesus – everyone is our neighbor) and honored them as people whom God calls by name? ~ Anne

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