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There is something special about the personal touches

I have a friend who has a knack for remembering the kind of coffee I like to drink. When I asked her how she did it, she said when she was a bartender in college her dad had told her, “If you want to make someone’s day, remember their drink.”

Personally, I’m much better at remembering names and the type of car people drive than I am what people like to drink.

But whether it is someone’s name or what they like to drink, there is something special about someone else remembering something personal about you. It is a day-maker, just like my friend’s dad said.

I think that’s what makes the Easter story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene at the tomb so meaningful.

The gospel writer John tells us that when Mary Magdalene showed up at the tomb that day she was filled with grief and sadness. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, Jesus appeared, only she didn’t recognize it was Jesus at first. But then Jesus called Mary by name. And it was then that she was able to see the risen Lord.

For Mary, that was a moment of transformation. When Jesus called her name, she not only recognized him but was also reminded that Jesus knew who she was.

What an amazing thing to realize! It was being seen that made her able to see. It was being lovingly called that made her able to trust.

And I think the same is true for us. Just like how there is something significant about someone remembering your name or what you like to drink, it is so meaningful to know that God knows each of us by name, sees us as his beloved sons and daughters, and meets us where we are in life.

In a nutshell, that’s what the gospel message is all about: that God comes down.

With this in mind, since we are made in the image of God, maybe it shouldn’t come as such a surprise when someone remembers our name or something personal about us, like what we like to drink.

Maybe, instead, moments like these are reminders that Jesus is in fact alive and loose in the world, working in and through our lives and the lives of our neighbors.

When someone calls us by name, maybe it is God reminding us that we are seen, known and loved. And maybe each time we truly see someone else, we are reminding them of the same thing.

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Kari van Wakeren is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. She can be reached at kari.vanwakeren@ and blogs at