Name Mnenomics

I’m very blessed to have this friend in my life (and her family also). Here she is with my other ‘little friend’ so often featured on this blog

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



How old is a ‘Sheila’?

If all you knew about me was my name, how old would you expect me to be?

If I were an Ethel or Betty you’d probably be thinking ‘over eighty’.  A ‘Kylie’ is probably under 20? So how old is a ‘Sheila’? Well, it’s dawned on me that I am the youngest ‘Sheila’  I know. I’ve known a few ‘Sheilas’ over the years butI have only just realised that I have never in my whole life met one younger than me!  It’s as if the name Sheila became deeply unfashionable the day my parents bestowed it on me. Cheers Pops, it was your idea, possibly you were a little behind the times?  Thankfully I’ve never thought Sheila sounded old, I’ve always thought it sounded cheerful and chipper, (it helps if you say it in an Australian accent!) so it really surprised me when someone told me they thought that Sheila was an old-fashioned sounding name.   I would love to hear from anyone out there who shares my name but thinks they might be younger than me.  Who know I might be the last of the Sheilas?

So how old am I?  Well ‘only as old as I feel’ which is not great news on days when I feel distinctly creaky. In human terms Bobby, our 5 month puppy,  is a 3 year old and on our early morning walks he bounces along joyfully just like a gleeful toddler while I trudge dutifully.  I take comfort from the slogan on my coffee cup coaster: The older you are the better you are, unless you are a banana.

The book of Proverbs tells me that ‘The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day’ (Proverbs 4:18). I love that idea. I am not dwindling into the shadows of old age, life is a pilgrimage onwards and upwards out of the shadows and uncertainties towards a bright sunny day.Yipee!

So how far have I got on my journey? You can have the answer in dog years: I am 329.

(Go figure, as they say in the States!)