Where the Streets Have No Name

If you are a music fan just seeing those words brings about thoughts of the popular U2 song.

Names are a powerful thing. Everyone has one and just about everyone loves to hear theirs called (unless of course it is an angry mom voice casting the call).

Funny that just the other day I had boys over at the house talking to them about baseball for this summer. I asked them to write down their name and address on a sheet of paper. Last year I made the mistake of practicing with the kids before I had the release forms signed. It’s one of those essential things…

Back to the story. I watched as most of these boys didn’t know their address. “Phil, you know where I live” was the common response.

“I know I know where you live. I need your address so that I can mail forms to you”, I said.

Many of our kids live on streets that have no name. At least they don’t know what the name of the street is. Truth is that the streets do have a name but any have just been forgotten.

Being forgotten is a terrible feeling. I remember one time when I was at the store with my parents. Being in about the 3rd grade I wandered off to the bathroom. When I came out my parents were not there. Did they leave me? Where did they go? Did they forget about me? It is a terrifying feeling being forgotten. Needless to say they were down about 4 aisles and when they heard my voice they came to the rescue.

Jesus has a way of entering into the world of the seemingly “forgotten”. The places where the streets appear to not have a name, Jesus appears.

Daily we encounter this unspoken feeling that is felt by kids. Every person wants to know that they have worth and that they are loved and not forgotten. Yet some of the places that our kids walk tells them the opposite. Truth is that when you hear something enough it can start taking root. This forgotten feeling leads to living on a street that nobody knows.

God enters calmly into the fray of life with a “no matter whatness”. “No matter what you have done and no matter where you have been, I will take you back”, said God. “I haven’t forgotten about you for I know your name. I know where you live. I know everything about you.”

What happens when we live in this ‘no matter whatness’ of God is a demonstration of importance and value. The consistency in our showing up and being available allows for moments to naturally take place and for us to be swept right along in the current of God.

We get to breathe worth and value into young lives. Father Greg Boyle in his book Tattoos on the Heart says it this way, “Compassion isn’t just about feeling the pain of others; it’s about bringing them in toward yourself.”

It’s at this intersection where the street begins to take on a name and the forgotten are no more.