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What is it about names?

What is it about names? What’s so special about them?

In centuries past, names described us – either the family we belonged to or the role, the skill or the part we played in our community.

Names like Smith, Fletcher, Cooper and many more described our skills in the community.

Titles were then added to our names according to the status that were given – Lord, Esquire, Lady, Countess. Some of these can still be found in online ordering systems – especially shops like Harrods and Liberty!!

But what about our names – the names were given, the names we choose for ourselves.

Whether it is a professional name, a personal name or nickname.

In the deaf community people also have sign names that are special and unique to them.

Maybe there is a story behind your name?

Our names speak of our identity – to ourselves and to others.

Maybe you have considered what your name means to you.

Maybe you’ve considered what you want others might call you and what that means.

I am Dominic to my parents, Dom to friends and Rev Dom to hundreds of children locally.

A friend at school used to call me Donamic, whilst an adult friend called me Damien for ages.

Maybe you’ve been at a meeting or a conference when they’ve got your name wrong, or written it wrong on a badge, or introduced you in a way that you wouldn’t have chosen.

What is it about names?

Jesus called people by name. He used their names to speak to them about deep things.

It feels like he knew everyone’s names.

He spoke confidently to Zaccheus in the tree who needed to be forgiven.

He spoke calmly to Mary in the garden when she discovered his resurrection.

He spoke clearly to Peter to set him on a path to begin something amazing.

Names speak of belonging. Of knowing people and addressing them with respect and value and concern. Names help us feel known and heard and understood. They convey safety and trust.

In a moment of stillness let us recognise our own name and the names of those we love – those who come to mind instantly – those who need to be seen and loved.

In a moment of prayer let us be reminded of those who God created this world for, that Christ died for, and that the spirit seeks to bless.

O lord you search me and know me. You know when I sit or stand, my work and my rest, my words and thoughts and deeds.

Where I go, you are there, your strength and protection and love and care are with me.

I am wonderfully made, I am made in your image.

Remind us of our identity that is blessed by you.

Support us to see the amazingness of others and know them by name.

Bless us with your spirit that we might offer your blessing to others in our care.