A few months ago, I spoke at Elementary Chapel at Cypress Christian School, as I do occasionally. I spoke about Names.
What does your name mean?
My name is Evan Christopher Weppler.
Evan means Young Warrior / God is Gracious (or Young Warrior of God’s Grace, as I like to see it)
Christopher means Christ-Bearer.
Weppler means Weapon/Shield Bearer.
So I am a Young Warrior of God’s Grace, Christ Inside, Shield at my Side.
Mister Rogers, on the other hand…
Well, Mister Rogers has become a hero of mine lately. Involved in television and children and fantasy and more, all as his ministry to families everywhere. I noticed some similarities between our names a while back.
Fred McFeely Rogers.
Fred comes from Frederick or Alfred. Frederick means Peaceful Ruler. Alfred means Wise Counsel. So, Peaceful Ruler of Wise Counsel.
McFeely means Chess Player (or Chess Player’s son, really.)
Rogers means Famous Spear.
So his name is Peaceful Ruler of Wise Counsel, Chess Player, Famous Spear Bearer. My name is Young Warrior of God’s Grace, Christ Bearer, Shield Bearer.
Grace/Peace. Old/Young. Ruler/Warrior. Spear/Shield.
Anyway, all of this doesn’t really have anything to do with my point.
But Names are amazing, aren’t they? You hear your name in a crowd and jump to attention. The name of a good friend brings a smile to the face. Everyone has a different name (Well, yes, there are many many many many John Smiths and more in the world, but still with all the combinations of First, Middle, and Last names, there is a wide variety.)
And so now to the reason I’m blogging about names today. In both of my classes, we spent a considerate amount of time hearing each other’s names. And not just their names, but their stories as well. For the two go hand in hand. Who can think of the name Barack Obama and not picture the whole drama of his rise to Presidency? Who can hear Shakespeare and not instantly think of “to be or not to be” and “a rose by any other name” (although that rose quote kind of goes against my thoughts)? Name and Story, like Chips and Salsa, a dish that must be consumed bit by bit, bite by bite. That is why we get to know people first by name, then by story, then more and more as we go.
I have been in classes where I just can’t remember people, even if we are close and have had great conversations. But it gets to the point that you can’t ask for their name. Seriously, we need a word for those people: people who we know very well but cannot remember their name. It’s like eating the Salsa without the Chip—it’s just not as good.
But how great it is to know another person’s name. We connect to each other through knowing each other’s names. It’s like a doorway into their life. (Yes, a Name is a Chip and a Doorway. And a Magnet and a Jewel and… and so on and so forth march the metaphors.
But how amazing it is to know God by name. He told Moses his name- Yahweh. Jehovah. I AM. And God came in the form of man. Emmanuel. And we came to know him—Jesus Christ. And in the name of Jesus Christ, the mountains rise and demons fall.
And God knows us by name. And not only by name, he knows the hairs on our head, the cells in our brain, the veins in our body. He knows our heart, our soul, our self. He knows our name. He knows us. He knows me. He knows you. And he wants you to know him too.
Do you know more than the name? Of a friend or a God? Have you stuck to the chips and not tasted the salsa? It’s spicy, but oh so good.
Know the name. Know the story. Chips and Salsa. Mmmm.