I have a last name that is pronounced wrong the majority of the time. I have spent most of my life politely correcting people on the true pronunciation. I feel quite jealous of people with simple last names. I have dreamed of being a Jones, or Smith. Or perhaps your name is hard to spell. Sometimes I wonder if the Baristas at Starbucks are trying to be funny with the spelling of my name.
But there are the random occasions when someone gets it right; when someone pronounces the word exactly as I say it, or spells it the way I do. I always feel a small connection to this person. I always feel that they know me in a different way than those who do not say it correctly. I get excited. I feel known, seen and special.
Jesus will always call us by our name. In John, chapter 20, in which Mary has arrived at the empty tomb, completely distraught that her savior is no longer there.
“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).” John 20:11-16
Jesus has called us all by name so that we may know him. He has called us by our name, the word that has defined us since birth, so that we may see his love for us. He has called us by name and pursues us with relentless love. He has called us by name, and knows our weaknesses, fears, insecurities, and still choses us. Even when we run away, or get defensive like Mary, Jesus will always call us by name and welcome us back into his arms.
We can rest in the fact that we are chosen, beloved, known and invited.
Jesus, I pray that you will call us by our names so that we can see you. I pray that you will open our eyes to see ourselves as you see us. I pray that you remind us when we are scared, broken, and insecure that you have chosen us, that we are beloved, that you know us and that we are invited to your table and into your arms.