Choose Them Wisely

A word doesn’t merely say something, it does something. It brings something into being. It makes something happen. What do writers want their books to make happen?

I wish that I had told my writing students to give some thought to what they wanted their books to make happen inside the people who read them…

[Frederick Buechner; Listening to Your Life; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992, July 22/23 excerpts. Also online.]

What do I want my words to make happen inside the people who read them? If I’m writing a sermon, meditation, or Sunday school lesson, I want to offer just a glimpse of the marvelous and holy world that surrounds us and that lives inside us. The focus of my doctoral work was born in asking and answering that question.

Words open doors within our souls. They give voice to our deepest emotions, and they offer a particular perspective – a way of seeing life. They are tools that allow us to communicate, and they are also weavers of reality. They are powerful. They can heal and harm because they become part of the inner voice that speaks to us of our value from waking to sleeping – and sometimes even in our dreams.

Scripture is sacred because it is a word-constructed doorway that the Spirit draws us through into the love of God. Scripture is sacred because it is a word-constructed means to loving our neighbors more fully. It is the Living Word because it does something for us and with us.

It’s no wonder that Jesus is called the Word Made Flesh.

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John21:24,25

2 thoughts on “Choose Them Wisely

  1. That makes me think of the creation story from Genesis in which YHWH creates the universe simply by speaking a word. That word doesn’t just “say” something, as Buechner writes–it does something, creates something. Like you, I write a lot, but I don’t think of my words that way. Until today. Thanks.

    1. It’s a different way to think of what we write, isn’t it? Not just what’s going out, but what it will do once released…Thanks, David! peace, Johnna

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