God is alive and shining on us. He wants a relationship with us and for us to be all that we can be. Many days I am so wrapped up in my “agenda” and worries that I cannot hear and do not listen for God’s direction.
Yesterday was not one of those days. Or even in my own neglect, God was loud and clear. On the way into work I listened to “On Being” with Krista Tippett on NPR. The topic was the writings and work of Abraham Heschel, a 20th century Jewish Rabbi and social change agent. I heard many wonderful insights and quotes, but I was struck by his teaching about how words are important. God spoke, and the world was created. Later that day, my coworker, who had also heard the show, asked me if I knew of Heschel’s work. She is inspired by his book called “The Sabbath.” Later that morning my friend Jedi Pastor Ken posted a graphic that included a quote by Heschel: “God is of no importance unless He is of supreme importance.” Simple, yet profound.
Then I was able to listen to the sermon by Rev. Jody Ray, in the middle of the series called “Love is a Verb”. The point of this sermon is that words matter. They can create life, or death.
I heard the message loud and clear. I like to think that I can speak words that inspire. Sometimes I do. But I know that I have also spoken words that offend, cut down and convey a message of doubt and inferiority. Mostly I feel the need to warn or make suggestions to my children. “Behave. Be careful. Don’t stay out too late. Get some good rest.” One of my children has resorted to just responding with the opposite. “No, I plan to be wreckless, mom.” Is there a better way to say, “I love you. Make good choices. I’m praying that nothing bad happens?” Maybe just like that. The worrier mom is afraid that something bad will happen, and I will probably attribute it to them not making good choices. But I see where that projects “I don’t trust you” or “I think you might make a stupid mistake.”
Another way I use my words is to leave room for negativity. When someone asks “How are you?”, I respond with “I THINK I’m okay.” I have to leave room in case I change my mind or if I suddenly don’t feel like things are okay. So who am I doubting now?
Sometimes things are not shiny, happy. Sometimes bad things happen. But my faith tells me that God is with me and that no matter what happens, He will carry us through. And if it is my time to leave this earth, I trust God will still lead me.
May the words of my mouth convey HOPE and TRUST. May my words bring LIGHT and LIFE. May people hear the LOVE of Christ in thoughts, words, and deeds.