Some time back, I recommended ‘The Heartbeat of God -Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything’ by Katharine Jefferts Schori the presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US. I picked it up again the other day and was moved by the chapter ‘ Called by Name’ which features the story of ‘Blind’ Bartimaeus. One of the few to be named in the Gospel healing accounts, he recovers his sight and follows Jesus ‘in the way’.
Bishop Katharine says,
‘Becoming a disciple has an essential connection with being named. Being known by name – John or Jane, Margaret or Michael – means being recognised as a beloved child of God and as a friend. Being called by name is essential to getting on the road. We don’t travel with strangers. We need every friend we can find.
Hiking Jesus’ road means we really have to want to see – to see the world in all its wretchedness and in all its glory. Like Bartimaeus we have to be willing to shout out for those who need healing – and sometimes that will be us. We have to let go of the old comfortable security blankets that we’ve depended on in our blindness.’
Earlier in the chapter the writer references the account of Jesus’ baptism when the voice from heaven declares Jesus to be the beloved son pleasing to God. She concludes:
‘We have to know our own names and the names of our companions on the journey. All those names start with beloved and pleasing to God and friend. Called by name we respond deeply to our relationship with God.’