This has been a series on The Power of Words as we seek to understand how the words we use have power to either shine light or to cloud in darkness. When we choose our words, we must remember their power.
It is right as we conclude this series on The Power of Words to take time to remember the Gospel of John’s poetic beginning: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” I can think of no better assurance of the power of words! In this way, we might remember that it was God’s words “Let there be light!” that first called the universe into being.
Exodus 20:7 (NRSV)
7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
Psalm 19:14 (NRSV)
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
John 1:1, 14a (CEB)
1In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 14aThe Word became flesh and made his home among us.
Consider these questions:
- As we conclude this series, how have you become differently aware of the power of words? Do you hear song lyrics or television dialogue differently? Do you experience one-on-one conversations differently? Do you hear news, celebrity, or political voices differently?
- Do phrases like “Oh, God,” “Jesus H. Christ,” and “OMG” fall under the category of using misusing God’s name, or are they innocent, meaningless phrases because we intend no offence to God?
- As people of faith, are we (or should we be) held to a higher standard in the ways we speak to others? Do you think non-religious persons watch to see if we live up to a higher standard?
Post-Sermon Follow Up on 1/30
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found by clicking this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s message began by considering the 3rd commandment not to take God’s name in vain and how that commandment is likely to mean more than a simple avoidance of cursing. A broader understanding might be an avoidance of using God’s name for our own purposes. Jesus reminds us in teaching The Lord’s Prayer that God’s name is holy.
In the Gospel of John (see above), we are reminded that Jesus is God’s Word made flesh to dwell among us. And it is Jesus who sends us as disciples into our communities and the world. Together, we are the Body of Christ; and if we are the body of Christ, we are the ongoing presence of God’s Word. What an awesome responsibility.
Consider these questions:
- Does the exegetical analysis of the 3rd commandment bring any new realizations or understandings to you about its meaning or intent? Explain.
- How do you understand the concept in John 1 of Jesus being the Word made flesh (see John 1:14)? What does the poem in John 1:1-5 and 9-14 teach you?
- If Jesus is the Word made flesh, and if we are the Body of Christ, would you agree that faithful Christians have become the ongoing presence of God’s word? If so, what does this mean to you? If not, why not?
Patrick & Lea Ann Walker
Also from “The Word of the Lord” movement of the Bernstein “Mass”—
“For the Word – for the Word was at the dawn of the beginning –
It filled our empty shells with mud and got them spinning.
And for thousands of regimes, it’s withstood all our follies and fancy schemes –
It’s been tough – it’s been tough, but it appears to be winning!”
As a result of this series, I’ve been more aware that expletives made about our current president are not helpful. They pull us down to his same level of insensitivity. It is frightening how his few well-chosen words can divert attention and incite hateful responses.
And at the same time, it is heartening to remember how a few well-chosen words of encouragement from a stranger lifted my spirits. And to remember how a few well-chosen words by me have brought a smile and look of gratitude on the face of both a friend and a stranger.