On impulse, I signed up for a “Word of the Day” (WOD) feed on my Twitter account. I thought it would be a good way to boost my vocabulary and to learn the backstory to some of the words in the English language. The next day I began receiving tweets with words like “ambuscado,” “ex abundante cautela,” “bamstick,” and “situla.” Not surprisingly, none of these are recognized by my spell-checker and I’ve never used any of them in a sentence. I can’t even remember - and I had no idea - what they mean. My expectations for the WOD experiment have shifted from improving my vocabulary to providing amusement as I play “Guess that Absurdity” every morning.
This Wednesday blog started because I am convinced that words matter. These WOD words matter too - to linguists and librarians all over the realm of academia. I guess I’m just a bamstick because my situla isn’t full of these words.
God has revealed Himself to us using words. He spoke Creation into existence. He gave Moses the written Law. Jesus is presented to us as “The Word.” Why this emphasis on words? Because language is the primary tool by which we can know each other. True, we can communicate with gestures and grunts but without words it is impossible to have significant communication about who each other is and what we each may need. Language - a combination of words - gives us the ability to share abstract ideas, to learn from one another, and to care for one another. Imagine trying to explain the symptoms of an illness to your doctor without being able to use words. The cure for your headache may be to remove your appendix.
Words Matter: We know words have the power to heal and the power to hurt. They have the power to confuse and to clarify. They can bring despair or hope. No wonder Solomon wrote:
Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (Prov. 16:24 ESV)
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Prov. 30:5-6 ESV)
And my personal favourite:
Be not rash with your mouth,
nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God,
for God is in heaven and you are on earth.
Therefore let your words be few. (Eccl. 5:2 ESV)
Let’s create our own “WOD” experiences - find a moment to share a gracious word with someone today. Be sweetness to their soul and bring health to their body. Words matter.