I am increasingly becoming more sensitive to names. These past three years at Andover have made me appreciate the power of calling someone by name. I wish I could get it perfect all the time, but alas I do not. But when a name clicks with a new face, something powerful happens. We move from impersonal to personal, strangers to acquaintances, and possibilities open for greater sharing and intimacy. I believe the power of a name comes from our example with God. The Bible says that God has numbered our hair on our head. He knows when we eat, sleep, are happy and/or sad. Nothing escapes his knowledge and therefore we never escape his love. Because we are known by God personally, we are much more like children than employees. It is what we can do for each other rather than a one-sided or transactional relationship.
It is for this reason that speaking someone’s name is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them. It says that we care. It says that they are important and valued by us. It says that we are brothers and sisters. Saying a name changes everything.