I had incredible high school English teachers. There was a point in my life that I distinctly remember enjoying the ability to diagram sentences. To turn a perfectly ordinary linear sequence of words and thoughts on a page into what looked like a sports bracket was liberating. It gave English a sense of competition, of being able to be conquered. It may have birthed in me a love for writing, of being able to use words to entertain, connect with, inform, cajole, correct, and inspire. Knowing what words to use when was like calling a winning play with 10 seconds left on the clock in the big game.
The thing about language use is the amazing mystery and ability it has to captivate a reader. For instance, if you’re still reading this post… there has been some elusive quality to it, a mental magnet that has drawn you into the second paragraph from the first, wondering… what’s the point? What is Jeff going to wide up with? Will I be delighted or disappointed? It’s been intriguing so far, but will all these connected letters and words produce for me a satisfying response upon their conclusion? Will I want to talk to others about this post later? Will I forward a link to it? Perhaps… it has so ensnared my imaginings that I will even comment on it…
But you see? Two simple words combined into a sentence produced immediate reaction and response in you. A millisecond impulse of confusion/unease/trepidation. Such are the power of mere words. And these words coming from a 38 year-old Arkansan who is a graphic designer/pastor. I’m so… ordinary. Yet these words from my mind to this screen have engaged your being and thoughts for several minutes now. Your life is on hold. Your mind is in my hands. Your existence is intertwined with mine for the moment.
The power of words….
Language, whether spoken or written, sung or shouted, is so much more than communication. It is life altering. Can you sense the mystery and power and sublime beyond-ness of language? With it, I can tear down and destroy. With words, I can build a kingdom. I can distress you or cause your emotions to soar on the heights. I can solve your problems with truthful words or contribute to them with deceitful ones.
Dear reader… and that is what you are right now. A reader, an interpreter. You are absorbing black shapes with white spaces that your mind converts to meaning. And we’re connected. Strange. Wonderful. Powerful.
Perhaps that’s why an ancient writer identified God as the logos… the Word. The Ultimate Being spoke the world into existence. Just as I am speaking reality into existence even now in your own mind. Think about this. By the time you read this, I am no longer creating this entry. I’m “done” with these thoughts. But their power and ability remain. Your time in front of your computer are a testament to this reality. When the Bible, called God’s Word, was being written across thousands of years by dozens of people, it too was words. But it’s power remains as well. Available, accessible, discoverable.
If my humble post can engage you for a few moments of your life, what do you imagine Divine Truth could do if you read it in the same amount of time that you’ve given this post… daily? The Bible claims to be different from all other earthly writings. We’ve already established the transcendant impact of words and language. What do you suppose words from God might be able to do in your mind?
The Bible especially… it’s like a blog. Blogs are the most meaningful when you interact with their author by commenting on them, sharing entries with your friends, laughing, learning, linking to other
items or entries of interest. In the same way, divine truth begs you to interact with it, to comment on it, to communicate with its author, and to be transformed by it.
Consider these words my friends. Your life can be different in the next moment! Your life can be changed. All because of the reality behind the language that a word seeks to communicate.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – from the New Testament book of John, chapter 1, verse 1.