Finding Your Name

A couple of years ago, we planned a trip to our home state to visit family.  My adult children, with extra time off work, decided to drive it together, while my husband and I flew in later.  They took a side trip to the town where they grew up, where their dad had been the pastor of his  first church.  Since they hadn’t been back in many years, they experienced that shock of everything seeming different and smaller than they’d remembered.

Visiting our former church, they crawled under the front row pew, much to the astonishment of the current pastor’s children, I’m sure.  But that’s where they spent many a warm Sunday evening, filling their coloring books or pretending to be the Apollo 13 astronauts on their backs in the command module.  (Hey, they were quiet, okay?  Besides, I’m sure they were listening.)  And as these twenty-somethings lay there on their backs, they saw it.  There, underneath the wooden pew, spelled out in silver crayon, was ELIZABETH.  My daughter’s name.

Next door was the old parsonage (emphasis on old) which had since been converted to a fellowship hall.  What they had remembered as a huge front porch, towering over the lawn, had shrunk to just a small stoop.  After all, Bubba was seven years old when we left there.  On this visit, he was over six feet tall.

Inside, the rooms still echoed with memories of childhood days.  And in the attic playroom, still attached to the wall, they found a painting, a simple watercolor, the work of a young student.  Across the bottom, spelled out in blue paint, was BENJAMIN.  My son’s name.

Finding their names still intact, in this place of their childhood, was like a historic archeological discovery.  It somehow validated the fact that those children really did exist back there in that place and time.  They’ve since traded their names for Lizz and Ben, and traveled hundreds of miles away and lived thousands of hours.  But on that day, the clock turned back, and they were home again.  They were still remembered.  Their names were written there.

The Bible refers to names being written… the book of  Daniel talks about a time of distress, from which ‘everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.’ (Daniel 12:1b)  In Luke 10:20, Jesus told his disciples to ‘rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’   Paul refers to fellow workers in Philippians 4:3, ‘whose names are written in the book of life.’   The writer of Hebrews talks about a great assembly in the new Jerusalem, including ‘those whose names are written in heaven.’  (Hebrews 12:23)  Revelation describes the New Jerusalem, where ‘nothing impure will ever enter it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.’ (Rev. 21:27)

I’m not sure I can ever understand what it all means.  How I can ever be worthy to have my name written in heaven?  That discussion is for theologians.  I just know it will be an amazing discovery to find my name there, along with the names of those I love.  I hope you find yours, too.   Then we’ll know we’re finally home.

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio — permission is granted to copy this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.  (you can share it, but please tell who wrote it and where you found it, and don’t sell it!)

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