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September 10, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Rev. Mark Adams

September 10, 2020
As you probably know, my daughter, Becca, and her husband, Andrew, are expecting their first child, a son, the day after Christmas.  As that day draws near, like all expectant parents, they have been spending a lot of time trying to choose a name for our fifth grandchild.
This week I read an article in an online newspaper (Atlas Obscura) that tells of a village in India not too far from the border with Bangladesh, where for centuries parents have used not just names, but melodies to identify their children.    

It sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Think of it, a hamlet filled with constant music!

The village is called Kongthong and the author of the article*, Zinara Rathnayake, describes it by writing,  
“A woman named, Shidiap Khongsti sings a soft, melodic tune. It sounds like a lullaby a mother would sing to a crying baby. Seconds later, she hears a tune in reply, and her nephew comes running toward her. Like all moms in Kongthong, Shidiap’s sister gave her son a distinctive melody within a week of birth.

Kongthong is small. It only has about 130 households which is good because they never re-use the same tunes, even after a person dies. Shidiap said, ‘We don’t know how it began. Our forefathers used these tunes when they went hunting. But it’s highly likely the tradition has practical roots. You see, tunes carry over distances better than names.’”


As children grow up, they value their distinctive “name tunes.” One young man says that when people call his traditional name---several others with the same name may reply. But when he hears his “name tune” he feels special because he knows he alone is being addressed.

Rathnayake says, “Opposite Shidiap’s house, a 50-year-old mother of seven, runs a grocery shop. She says, ‘I know most people’s tunes.’ When little children run past her shop, she sings their tune, lovingly. The village has a population of about 700, and she believes she knows about 500 melodies.”

Shidiap concluded with this about her four children: “When they were babies, I sang a tune to send them to sleep, and that became their name. Only mothers can give their children these tunes. It’s out of mother’s love.”

Fellow Christian, did you know that in HIS great love our Heavenly Father has given YOU a distinctive name? In Revelation 2:17 God says, “To the one who is victorious, I will give…a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”  

Did you ALSO know that God SINGS over you? In Zephaniah 3:17 it says, “God will take great delight in you; in His love He will…rejoice over you with singing.”

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
P.S. To hear some of these “names” and learn more about the people of Kongthong, click HERE.

*Article by Zinara Rathnayake can be found HERE.
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