I’ve always liked my name. I was raised Roman Catholic and named after Saint Agatha whose Feast Day is commemorated on my mother’s due date: February 5th. I was a bit early, December 13th to be exact, but my mother liked the name and decided that her last child would be named after a Saint whose name means, “good.”
Only two people ever called me “Aggie”: my first boss, David Hammond and a Dean Emeritus in Pharmacy School, Blanche Sommers. In both cases, they’d had childhood friends that went by “Aggie” and they thought it fit me too. But when anyone asked what I wanted to be called, it was always, “Agatha”.
It’s an unusual name in the U.S. not having ranked in the Top 1000 baby names since 1945. I’d never met another “Agatha” until 2011 when I was picking up my cap and gown for commencement at Tennessee State University when someone yelled out “Agatha” and two of us answered simultaneously! A student working part-time in the bookstore was also named after St. Agatha and we laughed at our chance encounter!
I know that God knows me by name because I’ve learned:
Isaiah 43:1: “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Isaiah 49:1: “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”
John 10:3: “To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
My church provides name tags for members and Rev. Leigh Spruill will regularly remind us during the service announcements that it is being hospitable and welcoming for us to wear our name tags each and every time we are at church. Then, visitors or newcomers can identify the members if they have questions, and the members can identify the visitors (without name tags) to invite them to join in for coffee or a Sunday School class.
I always wear my name tag for another important reason: the next person I meet may just be Christ. I want to make sure He doesn’t forget my name, either!
Revelation 20:15: “And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”