Saturday, February 16, 2013

Word Power

I have a BA in English. I love language, words, stories. Honestly, my call to ordained ministry came out of the desire to share the greatest story I know with others. As a mother to a 2-year-old son, I'm finally putting that one semester of "Methods of Teaching English" to use. And remembering how ridiculously complicated and nonsensical my native tongue is.

My favorite new rediscovery with James is homonyms and homophones. Homonyms are words that are spelled the same, sound the same, but mean different things, i.e. "Mommy is putting the money in the bank" and "Look at those flowers on the river bank." Homophones are words that are spelled differently, but sound the same and mean different things, i.e. "Go through the door" and "James threw the ball!" (By the way, my favorite online helper to refresh me on all this grammar stuff, which was never my favorite, is Grammar Girl.)

His language skills are exploding. It's wonderful and scary at the same time. It makes me much more mindful of the things I say and, even more importantly, how I say them. Since we're four days into Lent, I guess it might be time to share the things I'm giving up/taking on for the season:
  1. I will be more mindful about what I say so that fewer evil things come out of my mouth.
  2. I will blog each day, with the hope that the intentional time of reflection will guide me deeper.
  3. I will participate in the United Methodist Rethink Church photo-a-day thing.
I've talked before about how important I believe words to be. I don't think that it's unremarkable that Jesus is identified as the Word of God, through whom all things came into being as God spoke creation. The ancient people who passed along our sacred stories understood words to be a unit of power. Names were important because they were words intimately connected with our being (notice how often God goes around renaming folks...).

I've always liked this passage: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11)

So, I want James to use his words well. As adorable as it is that he calls his yogurt "yay-yo" and he's fumbling his way through "hippopotamus," I want him to become a man who considers his words and doesn't fling them about lightly. And in this information age, where words populate cyberspace faster than breath, that will be a challenge. That's why this is part of my challenge to myself for Lent.

How about you? What are you giving up/taking on/feeling called to do this Lent?

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