All Israel was registered by genealogies; and these are in book of the kings of Israel.
I Chronicles 9:1
The beginning chapters of I Chronicles are full of names. Tribe by tribe and descendants after descendants we hear names called, we know who is related to whom, and where geographically the people belonged to. It is obvious that for those telling the story of the Israel it was important to name these names.
Sometimes we don't take our names very seriously. Some of us do not like our names, others really do not think about them much, we certainly do not think of our names as related to clans, tribes, and places. As a mobile society we are constantly on the move and many times find ourselves longing for a sense of place, a place that bears our name.
Some years ago when I moved to Ragley I realized that most of the streets in our community were named after people. I recognized many of the names, they were names of people in my church or names of people that I had heard about as I got the know the community. Here names and places seem to go hand in hand, one belonging to the other, one complimenting the other.
In our baptism we are named, our given name is spoken loud, is "registered" our surname becomes Christian. The waters and the prayers tell us that we belong to the community of faith. Our name belongs to a place, the whole of creation both the one that we live in and the new creation we hope for becomes our "place." Our familial connections are broadened as the whole faith community becomes our family, new sisters, new brothers, new relationships.
We too join our names to the long list of those who claim to be part of God's promise. There have been many before us, there will be many after us. The story of faith reminds us that we are like them, everyday people attempting to be about God's work in the world. Some did better than others, some followed the precepts of God others ignored them altogether. All are named, all are registered, all are accounted for.
As I read and get bored I am reminded that each of them are part of the larger narrative of our faith. Because of their part of the narrative, each of them matter. So in the end all of us matter, all of our names should be called, our place in the world set by the fact that we belong to God.
This post originally appeared on http://spiritstirrer.org, Januray 29, 2011 as part of the "Bible in 90 Series."