Yesterday in church we learnt about Name Mnemonics. I was talking about how ICTHUS the Greek word for ‘fish’ gave rise to the early Christian symbol of the fish and how it stands for ‘Jesus, Christ, God’s Son, Saviour’ (more or less).
Is it possible to sum up our character, hope and aspirations using the letters in our name? Endless quizzes on Facebook seem to suggest so.
So I set my congregation a challenge in our ‘Worship for All’ service. Could they come up a personal characteristic for every letter of their name that expressed who they aspired to be. The ‘Margarets’ and ‘Geoffreys’ had a bigger challenge than Ann and Gail!
Gamely, they rose to the task and after a few minutes I asked for some examples. Feeling a little bashful, one or two read their names, admitting that it sounded a bit as if they were ‘blowing their own trumpets’.
This then led into our reading from Ephesians which was all about the people we are called to be, contrasted with the kind of people we are not called to be. We reflected that we do often fall short of our own aspirations and so we said a prayer of confession but then moved on to hear the story of Jesus and Peter having breakfast on the beach. Jesus reminded Peter gently but powerfully that he had called him ‘by name’. He had called him as he was, for who he was, with all his faults and failings. But that he had also ‘renamed’ him (Simon to Peter) and promised him a transformed future, not as a failed fisher of fish but as a ‘fisher of men’ who would one day follow in his Lord’s footsteps all the way to difficult end.
‘I have called you BY NAME. You are mine’. (Isaiah 43)
Know today that you are loved and called by God for you are and as you are.
My younger friend had set us off on this exercise by writing a lovely poem for me based on my name. I think she captured brilliantly the essence of my life, so I’ll post this up for you to enjoy