He Knows My Name
They started marching in as soon as the music started. There were dozens of kids carrying the best flowers from all over town. The stark cross built decades ago by Bob McLeod stood at the end of the aisle as it does during each Lenten Season. Slowly it was transformed into a cross of magnificent beauty as each child sought the very best place to place their flower.
Bob’s widow, “Miss Rachel”, was a surprise guest after a long battle with various health issues. That set the tenor for what was to be a great day.
I am not sure what it was that triggered the tone of this special service. Easter is special to all Christians. Perhaps it was Luther Spooner’s widow, Martha Nell, telling of losing her husband of 66 years just two weeks ago. She spoke of it during the time when we share joys in the life of the church. The outpouring of concern and support was evidence to this godly lady that Christ was indeed alive in this body of worshipers.
Perhaps it was the reading of the scripture by the lay liturgist, my own wife Mary Lou, whose voice broke when she read “… and they nailed him to a cross.” She recovered only to break again when she read “… and is risen from the dead.” She was embarrassed by her emotions, but there was hardly a dry eye in the packed sanctuary. When one opens their heart about God to others, it allows them to open their own hearts in return.
The music lifted our spirits and allowed our souls to find that place where true collective worship of our God is possible. Contemporary praise songs, relatively new for Presbyterians, were so heartfelt. Traditional anthems, along with striking new music, lifted everyone up.
And then the children. Always the children. The large group of kids sang their inspirational song not with their voices, but with sign language. It seemed a fitting way to remind us that God’s message is shown to different people in different ways.
Finally our young minister stood up, already full of emotion from all that had come before him, to deliver his message of the resurrection. Exactly 50 years after my own Baptism I expected to hear what I always have heard. How wrong I was.
Allowing his heart to open, the message was powerful and told in a way I never really thought about. Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus when he appeared to her before the empty tomb. It was only when he called her name, “Mary” that she spoke and called him “Rabbi”.
I came to realize in a way that I never really have that God knows my name, too. Through the trials of my own life, and there have been many, I have never felt deserted. I have always known that God was there for me even if I didn’t deserve it. He knows my name and because of that I can release the fears that taunt us all
To the billions of Christians around the world, but also to the even greater number that find God in their own way; this is part of the message of Easter. The God of us all, He knows your name.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org