In December 1987 we were taking some Long Service Leave. We enjoyed a week of it at Port Campbell on the southern coast of Victoria amid the cliffs - with the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge (a few months before it fell down) and other features. Here’s my diary record for 12th December (our wedding anniversary) -
We’ve just been married for 23 years and my wife makes a big discovery - the name is Ferguson. It all happened in the course of human error, oversight, carelessness or a combination of all three.
The young ranger who came on Tuesday to record our presence and receive our fee accepted our money and recorded our registration number, but gave us no receipt. Then this morning (Saturday) our presence was challenged by a more senior man - where was our sticker on the windscreen? did we have a receipt? had we paid? We could say "yes" to the third, but had no knowledge of the others.
"Perhaps yours is one of the receipts I have here... Yes, here it is. Car rego number 320-PLM. That’s you, isn’t it? Then your name must be Ferguson!"
It was news to us. The young ranger had forgotten to record the names that morning, and so had composed a few. No, the record couldn’t be changed now. "You’ll just have to be Ferguson until you leave."
It all seemed rather arbitrary - and a bit odd that the error couldn’t be corrected. But then a few weeks later at Halls Gap in the Grampians...
I was heading over from the Caravan Park to the shops when I overheard this conversation. "There’s Harry Butler!" "But he’s not wearing a hat, and he’s got dark glasses!" "But it’s Harry Butler, all right!" "Are you sure!" "Of course! I can tell by the way he walks!"
All of that is almost enough to give a person an identity crisis! So – who am I? Blackburn? Ferguson? Butler? Does it really matter? Who cares? What’s in a name anyway? Can people just call me what they want? Could I just decide to be Harry Butler for a while? Why not?
Each of us is unique. God cares! Each of us is so important and significant to God that he sent his own Son into the world for us. We read that in John 3.16 – "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
That’s what Good Friday is about, and it’s what Easter is all about. God wants each one of us to know his forgiveness, his love and his life.
You don’t have to change your name. But he will change your nature and you will have a new identity in Christ – "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor. 5.17).
But don’t forget to come along and be part of the action!
© Peter J. Blackburn, Link, April 2002