Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Name Tags and Worship Services

During Synod Assembly two weeks ago, I realized how often people called me by my name, even though I knew about 5 people before I got there. We could do this for each other because we wore name tags, with our first names being the largest part of the tag.

I first started to think about the significance of my name tag during a Eucharist service at the Assembly. In a huge gathering, Lutherans tend to distribute the bread and wine at different stations. It can feel a bit dehumanizing.

But with a name tag, the ministers could address us by name. It may be the first time I've been addressed by my name during the Eucharist since college.

I had forgotten what a powerful experience it is.

I've been wishing that my church would do a name tag Sunday once a month. I could make the argument for every Sunday, but I understand that some people don't want to wear name tags all the time--maybe we could compromise and get people to commit to once a month. It would allow those of us who have been there for awhile to remember all the names we didn't remember when we were first introduced,long ago, before we were even sure we'd be members of the church.

But more importantly, it would allow us to be addressed by our names during the Eucharist. I could see that this first name basis might be even more important during a healing service.

I know that name tags feel artificial to some people. I suspect that those people have good memories for connecting names with faces. I do not. Name tags would help the rest of us so much, in so many ways.

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