I am the wife of Manoah, the mother of Samson, and none of you know my name. For my name was not recorded; the angel came to me to tell of Samson’s birth, but I am known only as the wife of Manoah. I am known only by my husband’s name, my own goes down unrecorded in history. For I am the woman, unimportant except as the wife of my husband, the mother of my son.
Yet I do not speak of myself; I call to you across the ages to ask ‘who are your nameless ones?’ For we all have those who are nameless. Is it the person you walk past in the street, the neighbour you do not know, the elderly person who can no longer attend the church they have served for years? Is it the people you work with, the person who brings your post, who scans your shopping, or who works in your local care home?
Or are your nameless ones closer to home? Are they the people you live with, whom you love and are committed to, but whom you no longer really notice or whose needs you no longer recognise? Are they those who live apart from you, but whose intrusions on your time you resent?
Or are they not specific people? Are your nameless ones the refugees who arrive on your shores –or who don’t? Are they the victims of your prejudices, which you may or may not acknowledge? Or those without work? those who scare you? Those who live in a different area?
Are your nameless ones people whose names you know – or whose names you don’t? People whose names you could know, but haven’t found out – or haven’t remembered? People whose names you will never know, but whose humanity you could acknowledge?
For all these people have names, each of these people has value, each of these is a unique individual created and loved by God.
I am the wife of Manoah; I call to you across the ages to ask ‘who are your nameless ones?’ For we all have those who are nameless. You know me as the wife of my husband, the mother of my son, yet I am a person in my own right, I had a name, which was not recorded, and which you do not know. Yet I do not speak of myself. I call to you across the ages to ask ‘who are your nameless ones?’