Once, when I was out for dinner with a local family, a short, stout, waiter appeared at our table with a nametag that read “Jesus.” Though pronounced in Spanish as “Hay-Zus,” accent on the “Zus,” this encounter with Jesus became a spiritual experience for me as I wondered at God’s sense of humor in sending me a name-sake of His Son to wait on our table and serve us. But, back to “Memory.”
I clamped my teeth shut and bit my tongue because I wanted to say things like: “Hey, Memory! Do you every forget?” “Is your brother named ‘Forgetery?'” “How many gigs to your memory?”
With a last name like “Watt,” I’ve had enough of the jokesters who think they are the first to ask: “And, how many Watts are you?” or “Watt’s up?”
Names are important. People’s names have great value to them. Sometimes, their name –it’s good sound– is all they have of their dignity left. Think of what it means to you when someone whom you love calls you softly by your name. Or, how angry you can become if someone –a sales person, for example — misuses your name: “GERARD??!!” A nurse you’ve never seen before stands there with her clipboard mistaking your name or mispronouncing it in front of an elderly lady knitting, two male figures reading “Mechanic’s Illustrated” and “Today’s Doctor” and four other people who all look up from their reading to see who will answer to that name.
It’s Gerald,” I answer. The nurse looks at her clipboard and says “I’m sorry.” She slurs the words as she turns away and waves me back to the examining room like she’s motioning to her dog. Somehow, I am annoyed.
Think of the last time someone was dealing with you in an off-handed way and suddenly asked, What’s your name again?” That makes you feel like they don’t really care what your name is or who you are. Otherwise, they’d remember. I wonder if “Memory” ever has that problem.
In the bible, the personal name of God is written YWHW but it is never spoken out loud. So sacred is God’s personal name that not even our Savior used it when he taught the disciples to pray. “When you pray say, “Our Father, who at in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.” The greatest respect for God demands that we do not pronounce His name with casualness. The second commandment reminds us to enshrine God’s name in holiness and be careful how we use it. God Himself remains a mystery whether we say “Lord” or “Father.”
Every person, too, is a mystery and using an individual ‘s name just barely begins to lift the veil on the one whose name you speak.
I love the verse in the bible which says that at the Second Coming of Jesus when the dead rise in Christ, God will give me a new name, my secret name, the name for me known only to Himself (Rev. 2:17 and 3:12). He will call me by that name when I see Him. He will call you by your true name, too.
God never forgets who we are.