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The prophet Hosea was commissioned by God to “take with him words”, as he called him to prayer and penitence.
Throughout history leaders have turned to words in even as crucial a matter as to prevent wars. The weight of responsibility placed on ‘words’ is great indeed. How often have we been in a situation where it has been impossible to stay silent. There are other times, however, when words simply are not enough. Then there are times when we are speechless. Sometimes we say too much too soon or, we let others do the talking for us. These are often times when we might have had something very valuable to say.
Strickened, saddened, sorrowing humanity needs healing words: ‘Apt words have power to assauge the tumours of a troubled mind and are as balm to festered wounds’, wrote John Milton in ‘Samson Agonistes’.
The right words can remove doubt, inspire profound thoughts, minister to anxiety and bring peace. The words of the Christian vocabulary should always be words of assurance, reassurance, encouragement, forgiveness, acceptance-always words of healing.
When our conscience troubles us, it often reminds us where we may have gone wrong. God speaks to us in “in accents clear and long”. The voice of conscience is very often God speaking through us. ‘Lord speak to me that I may speak’. We all need to know when to speak, what to say and, what not to say. We need ‘discernment’.
When our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, St. John proclaimed: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us’. Whenever we meet together as Christians, wherever we are, we call to mind Jesus who was – ‘the healing word in action’. All of us as God’s children need to take with us ‘healing words’ on our journey through life.
This season of all seasons is traditionally the holiday season. This is a time for refreshment and for family reunions. Never perhaps, has this been more important to us than this year. After such a time of isolation (and loneliness), we look forward to seeing our old friends again. Although, at the moment, we are missing the comfort of the church’s services and the whirl of the yearly social diary – we know, it will not be too long before we will all be together again.
We pray for sunshine to lift our spirits and brighten our days. As we let God’s word guide us, we are thankful also for the times when words escape us. We know we can truly rest in the Word of Life. As we seek rest for our weary souls, whether we manage to go on holidays or not – let us remember the powerful words of Jesus:
‘Come to Me all you who labour and our heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28)
‘Peace I leave with you, not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14.27)
With my prayers for you and your family and every blessing.
Reverend Anthony M. Jones, BD (Hons), D.P.S., Dip Theol, Cert Min (Oxon), F.R.S.A, Glengarry Parish Church of Scotland