I suppose we all have practices or idiosyncrasies that we engage in, either as individuals or as family units, that might appear odd or quirky to others outside of our immediate circles of engagement. For example, my family and I like to spread peanut butter on pancakes. You might identify with that or think it gross and would never even consider doing such. I think putting pineapple on pizza is absolutely disgusting, whereas you may think it is the perfect pizza topping (for the life of me, I cannot possibly understand why!) Visitors to America from Europe might find some of our social customs not to their understanding or even their liking and vice versa. We all have personal practices and customs that may be bizarre to others who are unfamiliar with us and our habits.
Such was the case with me recently when I was reading an article about the Khasi people, an obscure ethnic group living in the small village of Kongthong in India, with a population of approximately 700 near the border of Bangladesh. The article mentioned a rather strange custom performed by the people there. Instead of giving their children names at birth in the same way as we do, children are given tunes or songs for their names.
That’s right! Mothers give each newborn a distinctive melody within a week of birth. Each melodic name is unique. The locals never reuse the same tune name, even after a person dies. The children also have actual, written names registered at birth, but these names are rarely spoken by the Khasi people. These melodies are routinely sung to the children throughout their childhood, and when it is time for supper on a nightly basis, mothers simply lovingly sing out the names of their children to come and get it!
Seems strange doesn’t it? Kind of weird? But you know what? If you think about it, we are more familiar with this custom than immediately meets the eye as Christians. God actually relates to us as His children in a similar fashion. How so? In a world of Covid-19, accompanying social chaos, and other life difficulties, we may feel at times forgotten by others and even forgotten by God. But such is not the case in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Like the Khasi people, God has given all His Christian children unique names (Rev. 2:17). Our names are actually tattooed on the palms of God’s hands (Isa. 49:16) and registered forever in Heaven’s Book of Life (Lk. 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 21:27).
Furthermore, not only has God not forgotten His children’s names, but He also routinely chooses to love His children despite our idiosyncrasies, inadequacies, limitations, weaknesses, faults, failures, and sins. Because of His deep love for each of His children, God generally expresses that love to us in many ways, but like the Khasi mothers, God specifically expresses His love to us according to Zephaniah 3:17 in song: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
So, you see, we are not so different from the Khasi people when it comes to how God relates to us as His children. Believer, regardless of your circumstances right now or in the future, and because of your relationship with God through faith in Christ, always remember that no matter what, God knows your name, He will not let go of you, and because He loves you, he routinely sings your name in love, calling out for you to follow Him in this life until your journey’s end when you will follow His voice to your eternal home.