The Power of Words
Words are powerful. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, recently. Let me explain.
Firstly, my beloved 81-year-old Nan had a stroke last month, suddenly changing everything for her. She’s not a white-haired, diminishing-old-lady kind of Nan either – she is 5ft 10, plays golf twice a week, makes incredible jam, flies around Tesco like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep and can talk the hind legs off fields of donkeys. Could. Because that has been one of the most heart-breaking effects of the stroke – her words are all gone. Almost entirely. She can communicate a little, but without a wealth of words, she is horribly frustrated and reduced. She can’t keep the nurses on the stroke ward listening for hours, regaling proud tales of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She can’t explain to them the pain of the loss of my Granddad, so recently, and the lifetime of love they had. Even those of us who know her best can only partly guess from charades and a few stray syllables, some of the myriad things she is trying to communicate to us, each day. We pray for words to return.
The other thing that got me thinking about words was a phrase I heard at the annual Christian camp, One Event, which our church attends every year. It is always a full and exhausting weekend, with so many meetings and talks, that taking it all in is impossible. But one of the phrases that stuck with me, was “I see in you…” The speaker was promoting the importance of these four small words, encouraging us to imagine the things we might unlock in others, the paths on which we might set them, by naming the potential we see in them. Don’t we all long for that – someone to notice our gifting, encourage us in it, champion us, believe in us? While we wait for it to happen to us, let’s get on with sowing that which we long for ourselves, into the lives of others. Four small words. Enough to make a difference.
Finally, the Bible describes Jesus as ‘the Word of God’ – spoken from heaven to earth, to bring life and hope to any who would hear him. Let’s use our words well today, in all their stuttering incompleteness, to bring life, hope and peace to those we meet. In doing so, we echo, in small quiet ways, the gentle voice of the only Word fully capable of speaking life and hope, with no stuttering or incompleteness at all.
Kings Lynn Christian Fellowship