June 3, 2008
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1b
It's almost graduation time.
Which is why, if you hang around campuses you may hear things like: No-oo-TOOL-a SEE-kay-tee-way Ki-tee-ki-tee. Oo-DO-chu-koo CHIN-yea-ray Oh-boe-doe. Bat-NAI-ram-dal OT-gone-shar.
Some people, having taken a look at these lines of our Daily Devotions, may have stopped their reading. Others immediately called their computer repairman.
Truth is, your computer isn't broken, and the above lines aren't gibberish.
These hard-to-pronounce words are the phonetic pronunciations of names - names taken from the 2008 graduating class of Macalester College.
As the students walk up to the stage to get their diplomas, College Registrar Jayne Niemi is going to have to read each of those names. And Jayne doesn't want to mess up the reading.
Jayne doesn't want to mess up those names for two reasons: first, college is a big investment of time and money. With families coming in from all over the world to celebrate, Jayne doesn't want to disappoint them. Disappointing graduates, who may someday become rich alumni, is not a wise thing to do.
The second reason Jayne doesn't want to mess up is equally simple: Jayne doesn't want to embarrass herself. Now I can tell you those names don't come easily. Those of you who listen to the audio version of these Daily Devotions can tell my tongue had a tough time with some of them.
I had a tough time with those names; Jayne may have a tough time with those names, but God never has.
That's because God knows them not just as a number and not just as a name. He knows the real them. God knew these people before they ever drew their first breath or took their first steps. But there's more. God also knows them. He knows their good points and their many sins, and because He knows them He sent His Son to save them.
So that No-oo-TOOL-a might be saved is why Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose. So that Matthew and Mavis, Mark and Martha, Luke and Lucia, John and Joanna might be saved is why Jesus came. And because Jesus has come, we need not fear. Christ has redeemed us. He has called us by name. We are His.
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, for knowing us, loving us, and saving us, we owe You everything. May we share Your love with those we meet-even those who are strangers to us. May we give thanks they are not strangers to You. After all, You have redeemed them, You have called them by name. They are Yours. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries