Almost every time I walk into my bank, I’m greeted with “Hi Kathryn, be with you soon.” It’s nice to me be known by name, not having to show my ID to the teller, which sometimes happens when a new teller is working. It’s nice to hear, “Kathryn, I’m ready for you” knowing that I have a work relationship with the teller and we know each other. It’s comforting to be known and to be addressed by your given name. I like to be called by my name and don’t mind being called by any of the many variations of Kathryn.
Names are very important to God; he goes by many names and he has renamed people in the old testament, like Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah and Jacob to Israel. We are told to rejoice that our name is written in heaven; as Jesus told his disciples in Luke 10:20, “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” If your names are so important to be written in heaven, should they not be important enough for us to wear our name tags on Sunday. This way we can address each other by name, greeting each other and sharing the peace using each others names, making it more personal. God calls us each by name, as it says in Isaiah 42:1, “ Do not fear for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.” If it’s so important that God calls us by name, should we not also think it’s important to call each other by name.
In the New Testament, 3 John 1:15 says, “Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.” We are encouraged to greet one another by name, but that’s really hard if we have a difficult time remembering names. I know I do and I rely on God’s help to remember names That is why it is so helpful to have people wear their name tags. Sometimes a name just escapes me, and the harder I try to remember that name, the more it disappears deeper into my memory. That’s when I’m so thankful when someone is wearing their name tag. It’s also helpful for me to see the names with the person who has that name. The name and face, face and name together helps. This way it gets into my head a little faster, and I remember better.
I so much would like to call each person who comes into church by name, but I know that’s not possible for me or for anyone I know. The pastors can’t possibly know everyone’s names, and I know our pastors love it when people are wearing their name tags. Our pastors are so encouraged by each of you when you wear your name tag, because trying to remember more than 1,000 members is a daunting task. I hope this encourages you to wear your name tag. We have the lanyards and clips so now you have a choice of how to wear your name tag.