Jesus Calls us by name

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Jesus calls you by name
I went to church as an adult, I attended a church close to my mother’s house, there was an old grey vicar there. The sermon went over my head and I sat next to the same lady week after week, but she didn’t even ask my name. So, eventually I gave up. I moved into my own house and I made friends with a lady that had problems with walking. She asked me one day if I would go to church with her to support her. I of course said yes, we went through the door and received a warm welcome. It was a communion service and I wasn’t confirmed but went to the altar rail with my friend. The priest blessed us by name! It was incredibly powerful. But I was amazed, the priest hadn’t been at the door – the message had obviously been passed along.

I continued to attend that church, it was where I got married, had my children baptised, and it where I grew as a Christian. I became confirmed and it was from there that I became ordained.

All that priest did was call me by name: I maintain to this day that it was Jesus calling.

When you were born your parents probably spent a lot of time choosing your name, maybe waiting until you were born to see what you looked like.. or perhaps they spent hours looking at a baby naming book seeing what names meant. Choosing a name was important for your parents, just as it was when I chose the names for my children.

Being called by name is important. I know I used to go through all my children’s names before I got the right one… They used to say to me.. ‘mum have you forgotten who I am’.. of course not, I knew as their mum exactly which one I was talking to.

A friend of mine, her dog had 11 puppies. Maybe if you saw all these puppies all brown and white, you might just see puppies. But we knew exactly who was who. They all had names and personalities.

In history people’s names were often linked to the job they did. Baker baked bread, a miller milled the flour, etc

When you are in a church – do you see a crowd of people? Or do you see faces with names that you recognise? That recognise you and call you by name?

Next time you are in church, perhaps if you don’t know someone’s name, ask them? Make it your aim to put a name to every face and the next time you share the peace with them do it by name.

Jesus called Mary’s name, he had a job for her. Jesus calls us by name because he has a job for us to do too. It’s only when we reply like Mary did do we find out what and where Jesus wants us to go and do.

When I did this session with children, we made name plaques to go on their bedroom doors.

There are lots of crafts available to illustrate this..
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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