It is a holy thing to be called by name.

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

One of the greatest privileges of being a pastor is the opportunity to be the bearer of God’s grace, by placing the bread into each outstretched hand during Holy Communion as I say the words: “This is the body of Christ given for you.” And because the size of our congregation is such that I know most of those who worship here, I am able to add the name of who is receiving the bread to personalize those words.

It is a holy thing to be called by name. It means we are seen, we are noticed, we are recognized for the unique person we are. In the Gospel of John’s story of the Resurrection, Jesus’ identifying Mary by name becomes life-giving. When she arrives at ┬áthe empty tomb and discovers that Jesus is not there, Mary becomes visibly distraught. Convinced someone has stolen the body of her teacher and friend she’s paralyzed, weeping outside. When she turns around and sees Jesus standing there, she is still overcome with sadness, thinking he must be the gardener. Only when he calls her by name, “Mary!” does she recognize him, running to share the good news with the others (John 20:1-18).

In the season of Easter that begins this Sunday, April 5th we rejoice that God knows each of us by name. Since the day we were born God sees us and knows us, down to the number of hairs on our head. When we were brought to the waters of baptism, each of us was named and claimed as God’s very own child. And when we feel worn down by life’s journey, and alone in our pain, Jesus calls us by name once again to raise us to new life. As you listen and watch the video below may you be filled with the joy of Easter, trusting that God knows you by name.

He Knows My Name-McRaes LYRICS

Joy and peace,

Pastor Gretchen


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