Just Words

Dear Wordsmiths,

Last week one of my tennis players I coach faced death. His Aunt who was seemingly in perfect health, dropped dead unexpectedly. What words does one use in such an instance?

As I watch refugees scrambling away from Syria I am speechless. What words can speak into that moment?

Words, words, words. Our society is full of words on bill boards, on television screens, in newspapers, books, and iPad. Words whispered, shouted and sung. Words that move, dance and change size and color. Words that say, "Taste me, smell me, eat me, drink me, sleep with me,” but most of all, "buy me.” With so many words around us, we quickly say: “well, they're just words.” Thus, words have lost much of their power.

Still, the word has the power to create. When God speaks, God creates. When God says, “Let there be light”(Genesis 1:3) light is. God speaks light. For God, speaking and creating are the same thing. It is this creative power of the word we need to reclaim. What we say is very important. When we say, "I love you,” and say it from the heart, we can give another person new life, new hope, new courage. When we say, "I hate you,” we can destroy another person. Let’s watch our words.

Some of the saddest words one can speak or hear are, “Oh well what’s done is done.” As if grace gives us the permission to damage others with both intent and disregard for repentance.

Perhaps the words to use with my tennis player in the secular/sacred climate of a public school tennis team is, "I love you buddy. You were fortunate to have loved your Aunt and to have been loved in return at such a depth you now mourn.”

It may also just be enough to pray the words to Jesus that I love my Syrian refugee brothers and sisters. Lord have mercy. May my words speak of a love I hold for them, for we share a common creator and redeemer.

May my words be enough as they reach the ears of the WORD OF GOD (Genesis 1 and John 1).

Quote of the day “Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?” Maurice Freehill

See “Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith” by Henri Nouwen for further reflection.

Still in one peace,
Pastor David J Jensen


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