What’s in a name……

Yesterday we had our outdoor worship service. It was a beautiful early fall
day, lots of people out on Main street who were able to see this lovely
gathering on the lawn of the Baptist Church. I can honestly say that we are met
with kind curiosity by those visiting Hyannis; lots of smiles, sometimes people
stop briefly. It is unclear if they know that we are a combination of sheltered
and unsheltered folks, which is the point!!!

After worship we spent a long time chatting together, sharing apple pie and
cider, and pouring through bins of clothing to find the right size and color
sweatshirts for cold nights. As I was helping with the clothes I checked in
with one of the shoppers, asking if I got his name right. He seemed astounded
that I tried any name at all! I did get his name right and he was smiling
broadly as we talked about times we had connected over the past year. I pulled
out a cute sweatshirt for another shopper and asked her, by name, if she liked
the color. The young man, again, seemingly astounded, said “you know her
name too!?! The young woman said “she always remembers my name, it makes
me feel good.”

Can you imagine being an unnamed “homeless person, bum, drunk,
addict.” When these folks go unnamed, it’s dehumanizing, it makes it
easier to walk on by, to blame people for their circumstances. It also chips
away at their spirit, their hopefulness, their ability to be part of the larger
community because they are no longer a person deserving of a name, they become
“one of those people,” othered, maligned and marginalized.
Interestingly, often the people who are street homeless have street names,
perhaps because they feel unworthy of being called by their given name, perhaps
because they are not that person any longer. But yesterday’s scripture, Psalm
8, notes that “all humankind is made a little lower than the angels and are
crowned with honor and glory.”  

All people, no exceptions! 

 All are crowned with honor and glory and

all are worthy of being treated in a way that lifts up their inherent worth and

All people deserve to be
called by their name.

 You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.

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