I’ve been thinking recently about the power of words. We use words all the time: at home, at work, at school, at church. What we say and how we say it has great influence on our lives and the people we interact with every day. For many of us, maturity in Christian faith begins when we start to pay attention to our language — what we say and how we say it.
It has been said that prayer is the language of our relationship with God. This is a helpful definition because it reminds me to pay attention to the words I use when I’m communicating with God in prayer. One of the most important ways we use our words is to deepen our relationship with God in prayer. We need moments of silent, wordless, time alone with God, but we also need to take our joys and concerns to God. When we pray, we experience the power of words.
But words not only have power when we speak them, they also have power when we hear them. The healthiest relationships in our lives have a critical balance of speaking and listening. The best listeners are the people who pay close attention to our words and work hard to find meaning in what we say. One of the best gifts we can give a friend or loved one is to listen to them and allow their words to have an impact on our lives.
As Christians we know that the words we read in Scripture have the power to change our lives: especially the words spoken by Jesus. This summer, we’ve been listening carefully to the words Jesus used to teach us in parables. Jesus’ words are powerful and life-changing. If we want to be one of his deeply committed followers, we need to heed the words of the heavenly voice that speaks to Peter, James, and John on the mountain top in Matthew 17:5, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” I hope our collective efforts to “listen to him” through the parables have been meaningful for you.
Finally, because words are so important and so powerful, I’m planning a new sermon series that will start on September 12. It is called, Stung by the Tongue. In the four weeks of the series, we’ll look at portions of the New Testament Letter of James and consider the power of words and learn how we can use our words for good, for building others up while speaking the truth in love. My hope is that you’ll plan to join us for worship (on-line or in-person) and invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to join you.
I look forward to seeing you every Sunday at Trinity.