Hello Starbucks, My Name Is…

Church newsletter article for 18.03.12

In the past if you ordered a coffee at Starbuck’s, once the order was made you might have to wait with others until the person making the coffee called out latte or whatever type of coffee you had ordered, and then you could collect it, assuming you could remember if you ordered a late, mocha or cappuccino. Of course the system broke down if a number of you ordered the same drink!

If you were to head over to Starbuck’s website at the moment you would discover an ad on the frontpage that makes the following announcement:

‘Have you noticed how everything seems a little impersonal nowadays? We’ve all become user names, reference numbers and IP addresses. That’s why at Starbucks we’ve decided to do things differently. From now on we won’t refer to you as a latte, or a mocha, but instead as your folks intended, by your name. Okay, we know it’s only a little thing but hey, little things can sometimes make a difference. So why don’t you come in for a coffee, say hello and introduce yourself. We’re Starbucks. Nice to meet you.’

Now, when you order a drink, it seems they will ask you for your name, write it on your cup and call it out when your drink is ready.

It would seem that this has been received with caution in the UK; whilst some of us are happy to give our first names like this, others are reluctant with this ‘false friendliness’, seeing it as all a bit American. Which of course it is. They’ve been doing it there for a long time.

Today’s passage stands in complete contrast to that. In John 10 we read about the Middle Eastern shepherd calling out his sheep by their name. They known is voice and are quick to follow. This is a relationship built over time, on the basis of discovered trust and mutual support and need.

I am the Good Shepherd claims Jesus. I know you by name, but not like some barista in a coffee shop who’s had to scribble it on a cup to remember it. No, Jesus has no need to ask us for it. He knows it already as he was involved in our creation and became flesh because of his love of us. He is one in whom we can trust, one who we need.

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