CALL THEM BY THEIR NAMES
Pastor Rawna Kopsiam
Jesus calls his own sheep by their names and leads them out. How many of our students, friends can we call by their names. Do we ever pronounce their names correctly? Do you ever call by names? Everyone has a name. Even pets are given a name and they are also happy when we call them by their names.
In June 1993 I joined Union Biblical Seminaryfor my BD course. During my first year one day one gentleman from south India met me and asked my name. I replied my name is Rawna. He asked me again what is your Christian name? Looking with a surprised I said: both I and my name are Christian. From that time onwards I began to think do I need to change my name in orderto be considered Christian. Only western names like Charles or name in the Bible like David seems to be thought of a Christian name.
Mangombe and his wife pfumai an African couple became Christian and were given the so called Christian names Charles and Helen respectively. In most cases our Christian missions never regard how beautiful and significant the given name is. Mangombe means one who owns a large herb of cattle and Pfumai means may thou be wealthy. Have you ever thought how God would record it in the book of life, whether Mangombe or Charles, Pfumai or Helen.
Will our Christian missions say to them, we do not know your name, your history, we do not even need to knowyour customs? What Christian missions should exercise is not the name giving power but the name knowing power. The power to pronounce correctly, the power to identify names and the power to understand and experience their deep meanings, Our Christian missions did not enter a nameless world. It is not like Adam in the Garden of Eden surrounded by nameless animals that he need to give them names.
The British people call us as they likes, give us names and change our names and tribes and recorded our names, tribes, locations in many books as they like. What comes the results? Problems of re-unification among the Zomis. Do we need to follow the same and change people and their identity as we like. Do to others what you would like them to do to you and don't do to others what you don't like that happened in your past history.
A name is not just an identity of individual,It is the name of the family, of the tribe, of the people. In that name lives a history. Jesus laid down a model for us calling by their names. Even a sinner he calls by name - Zacchaeus come down for I must stay at your house today. Oh what a meaningful ministry – calling by their names.