Thursday, 1 March 2012

Words Words Words

Yesterday I attended a family wedding in Southampton and sitting in the pew was struck again by the power of words – specifically the ones that went ‘I do’! Once said, amongst witnesses, in that particular context they form a precious covenant. 

It reminded me of the power of words and how they can inspire or discourage in equal measure. 

This morning I went into school and helped judge a Word Book Day dressing up competition.  It was great, and loads of fun! There were lots of Harry Potters, Red Riding Hoods and Mr Men characters and many of the students not only wore the costume but also carried with them the book it came from. 

Reading gives us insights and ideas outside our own experience.  I still remember the first time I read Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd for my English O Level and how, as a boy growing up in the Midlands, I was instantly transported to rural 19th century Dorset – all through the magic of words upon a page.

I felt the same tingle last summer standing on The Lincoln Memorial in Washington and remembering that on those very steps Martin Luther King had delivered his famous Dream Speech and that he used words as his weapon against discrimination rather than violence – and won the day.

The words we speak today, the ones we type in emails or text on our phones, are important.  They will say much about us and the Saviour we serve.

I’m very conscious that one of the most valuable descriptions of my particular calling is that of ‘Minister of Word and Sacrament’ and that Sunday by Sunday I am given such a privilege of standing before a congregation to preach. 

A prayer that is often uttered by preachers before a sermon is surely one for us all in any situation: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts by acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

This weekend the Fortnight of Guided Prayer begins with a service in the Chapel Lounge on Sunday at 4pm.  Our prayerful best wishes go out to all of the ‘retreatants’.Best wishes,

Ian

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