Sunday, May 03, 2015

Powerful Words

A friend and I were discussing the misuse of vocabulary.  Earlier on in the week I had been talking to someone about a particular challenge I had been facing.  It was a stressful situation and, for the most part I had been careful to pray about it and seek God’s perspective. What others might label as coincidence, I took as God’s answer – the situation changed.  It became something well within my scope to deal with. The story and its resolution was greeted with a single word, “Cool.” Too much was wrong with the world when "cool" describes something other than an ice-cream.

The English language is rich and varied and, I know it is in a constant state of evolution.  New words are added to the dictionary and old words get tossed out and other words take on another meaning.  I sometimes think our use of words can be really lazy.  Perhaps that’s what I like about poetry – the use of good words,

I love words.  I love hunting down a word that carries the exact meaning I am looking for and I will not settle for a convenient word.  It’s the writer in me.  I’m not sure that I am capable of dumbing down the words I use, or willing to do so.  Do I distance myself from my listener, or my reader, if I use a word they’re not familiar with? Perhaps. I asked group of young people this week whether, if I called them apathetic, I would be complimenting then or insulting them.  Some thought about it.  They knew the word “pathetic”, and knew it wasn’t a good word to be called.  Did the “a” at the front make it a better word or a worse one? They plumped for the compliment – though they ought to have factored in past history and the things I had called them on previous occasions.  Praise was something hard won and didn’t slip so easily from my lips.

This morning I was reading the end of Numbers ch6.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Num 6:24-26)

They are words given to Aaron by Moses to bless the Israelite nation. The heading in that section of the page says “The Priestly Blessing”. 

Having a chequered history of going to a variety of churches throughout my almost forty years of being a Christian, I have heard the words spoken lots of times. Although the Bible tells me that I am part of God’s royal priesthood I can’t think of any time that I have spoken those words to anyone in that particular order.  I have asked for God to bless people on a number of occasions.  I have asked for His grace and His peace to be poured into people’s lives – but never quite using those words.

Aaron had God’s permission to say that blessing.  It wasn’t something to say to make people feel better – some kind of spiritual placebo.  The words were God’s intention and purpose, His promise.  There is a blessing to be experienced and the assurance that God keeps us in His hand.  He doesn’t let go of the things He treasures – and He treasures His children.  There is grace to underpin our lives – grace not to be just saved by, but grace to live by.  And don’t we all need peace?

The blessing isn’t a three wishes thing.  It’s not the words of a spell. It is a powerful blessing – words that are spoken that have the power to truly transform the life of the hearer. And because of that they should not be spoken casually or out of habit.  I wonder if the church minister who ends the church meeting really intends that people be blessed and know that they are kept.  As he says the words does he, in his heart, call God to keep His word?  How different would our faith walk be if someone spoke those words over us in faith, and we received those words in faith and lived those words each day accepting them as true and letting them transform our daily lives?

Father,

Thank you for Your blessing.

Help me today to speak those words, in faith, over myself.  May my spirit take hold of these words, in faith, and live in the expectation that I will be transformed. Tomorrow and the next day help me do the same. I am tired of telling myself something other than the truth.

Encourage me to speak those words, in faith, over my friends and family as I pray and give thanks to You as I see their lives transformed.

Amen  

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