The power of knowing someone’s name. “Aren’t you famous” asked one of the local “crack heads” of me a couple weeks ago as I cleaned the entryway out of 2510 W Capitol Drive. I laughed and said, “Not that I know of” to which he responded “yup, you are I have seen you play, small forward right?” I smiled and said, “Yes, what is your name?” He said Michael. Thursday, July 13th was one of the best days I have ever had at Hope Street.
I was completely covered in mud, sweating, tired and yet smiling and full of joy. It is bringing tears to my eyes now as I recall the day. You see I took the recently acquired keys down the sidewalk to 2510 W Capitol with rake, bucket and rags in hand. I was determined to restore at least the entryway to what was. What I got was that and more. Michael has been somewhat of a terror in our neighborhood the last couple of weeks. His girlfriend and him both are more often than not under the influence, loud, destroying property etc. We even had to recently call the police because of an altercation he got in. And yet, a few days later here he is walking by what will be Shechem and I got to know his name. Michael, the name of an angel – when he said it, it pierced my heart and I suddenly was able to have compassion. The irony? I am cleaning a building that some day Michael can be invited into, and yet I have had a hard time loving him and seeing him as human. Humbling to say the least.
Shechem was a place of refuge. A place where Abraham spoke to God and God spoke back. A place where barriers were crossed and hope was restored. As I washed windows on a building that won’t even be there in a couple of months, I felt that. I felt what will be, what that place will represent, provide and accomplish. I never really imagined we would be where we are at today, but I am so excited to step into obedience each day and join God in His great big story. A story where each person is known, by name, by Him.
Father, would we make every effort for “those people”, the “others” in our lives to become known. Would we long to know people’s names so that we can remember they too, each of us is made in your image and has worth. Thank you that you give us names like Ashley and Michael, forgive us for referring to each other as "crack heads" or "whore" or any other slang false name. Thank you for all that you went through for us to be known by you.