Written by Steven Liechty
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1
Words and the pictures they paint can bring harmony or division. They can heal or they can hurt. Words have power! "And God said, let there be light." Those words had the power to create.
And Jesus, the Word made flesh, spoke in parables, and the visual images the words created gave those who would hear insights into the realm of God and what discipleship meant. And the writer of James warned his readers to be careful with the words they speak. And we have sixty-six books of words that we hold as foundational to living a fulfilling life.
I became enlightened about the power of words very early in my ministry when during my greeting after the service a young woman came up to me and said: "When you said . . . I realized there was some meaning to my life."
When I returned to my office I took time to look at the script for the sermon. I realized that I had considered the words she was referring to as merely filler to transition to another thought. Never again did I consider any words I spoke to be meaningless.
This devotional is a reminder that, as people of faith, we need to watch our words—whether they are spoken from a pulpit or in an intimate moment. It also a psalm of praise for those who are gifted in crafting words that heal and challenge and inspire and . . . .
May the words of our mouths and the words that we write be acceptable and pleasing in your sight. May they inspire beauty in human hearts; challenge complacency in the face of injustice; comfort the afflicted; free imaginations to dream about and seek your realm. Amen.
Bob Naylor has served in parish and national staff ministries and now is the lead consultant for a clergy and church coaching and planning ministry, In Church Imagining. He is the author of a recently released book by Pilgrim Press, What Church Leaders REALLY Need to Know.