The poet Tracy Dant* writes of being in family with a second name for home, to put your feet up and cook chitlins in, to be loved in.
In Love’s family, everyone’s name is “Beloved.” This makes it very hard around Love’s house to tell us apart. “Beloved! Pick up your room!” “Beloved, quit fidgeting. Eat your vegetables.” Which us is meant? It is easiest to just assume that loving voice is calling to us all. “Beloved, be kind to strangers.” “Beloved, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Beloved, don’t be afraid, I’m here.”
In Love’s family we all have a shared second name. There’s nothing you can do to lose it, even if you’re fidgeting. Even if you aren’t kind to strangers. (Although being in Love’s family tends to make us kind to strangers. You’re at the movies? You’re probably eating popcorn. That’s how it works.) Let us pray:
Dear one, you are twice-named, or more. Along with your name for the world, you have the name Love has given you, whether you know it yet or not. Whether you answer to it yet or not. You are Beloved. This name is already yours, and it is also your name to grow into, to become. When you wake up today, you are Beloved. When you are waiting in a long line at the grocery store, you are Beloved. When things don’t go your way, you are Beloved. When you notice that someone is hurting, you are Beloved. I pray for you to live in this love, dear one. Eat your vegetables, Beloved; don’t be afraid. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER MILLER HOFFMAN
has pastored MCC churches in New York and Maryland. He is currently a student chaplain at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center and working with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to support sexual assault counselor-advocates and the survivors they serve.