By now most of you know that I am fascinated with words…especially new words….give me a new term, like “possibilitarian,” and I am happy the whole day with all the new “possibilities” that this word implies.
A couple of days again I finished reading a book by Madeleine L’Engle called the 40-Day Journey….a series of devotionals and thought provoking messages…I got to my last (40th) devotional -each ending with questions for “ponder”- and realized that we had made a complete circle.
” And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.”
As I read on… L’Engle had written a powerful poem called simply “Word” to bring closure to her little book of devotionals.
I , who live by words, an wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The still voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me.
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen
Haven’t we all gone to God in prayer, at some point, and discovered that our words, too, had “broken down” …but that it was okay?
We understood, intuitively, that God, already, understood our needs and wants (without one word uttered from our mouth) and a sense of “silence and adoration” hung in the air… bringing us the peace, the answer, we sought so desperately?
I re-read this piece of prayerful prose several times and then went to the final question based on it.
Why is “the Word” the perfect metaphor for Jesus, his coming, his work, and his meaning for us?”
Why, indeed, I thought. I understood the connotation of the “Word becoming flesh“…in other words God becoming flesh, human, though Jesus, His Son, living among us… but if I defined the “Word” as scripture I didn’t have a nice tidy answer to this question.
So I went on a search to find meaning to an old word for “The Word.” I found it.
The phrase “Word of God” means more than the printed words on a page. God is a communicator and has been speaking into the human realm since the beginning.
He speaks through His creation (Psalm 19:1), through ancient prophets (Hosea 12:10;Hebrews 1:1), through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13;Acts 16:6), through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12), and through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:9). We can learn to know God better by seeking to hear Him in every way that He speaks.
As John was writing, at the time he was writing, he had a special challenge. He was writing for Jew and Gentiles…so he had to choose his words carefully…so they would not be mis-translated.
The meaning he chose for the “Word” (personification of Jesus Christ) was logos.
By starting out his gospel stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John is introducing Jesus with a word or a term that both his Jewish and Gentile readers would have been familiar with. The Greek word translated “Word” in this passage is Logos, and it was common in both Greek philosophy and Jewish thought of that day.
(And then I found it…the new “word” and its meaning that I now understood for the Word…the meaning that made sense to me and brought this piece of scripture back home to me with new meaning…
In the Greek worldview, the Logos was thought of as a bridge between the transcendent God and the material universe.
I had it…the “Word,” personified as Jesus Christ, was the bridge between God and man…arriving in human “flesh.”
My personal light bulb came on…..an idea I could completely wrap my mind around. Jesus is the “bridge” in our everyday lives and each day we are invited to cross it…to see God’s Presence on the other side, returning to live it on our side.
Our personal bridge to Christ takes the form of prayer.
I won’t forget this personal “aha” moment and the importance of taking time to discover new meanings of the “Word.”
I would like to leave you with a powerful quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel: A Ring of Endless Light. In this excerpt little Suzy is pouting because she asked for something in prayer and didn’t get it. Her wise mother intervenes with:
“Prayer was never meant to be magic,” Mother said.
“Then why bother with it?” Suzy scowled.
“Because it’s an act of love,” Mother said.
So until tomorrow…Thank you Father for steering us in the right direction to understand your “Word.” Thank you for being the “Bridge” for us in our everyday lives.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
* I had a wonderful Valentines…keeping Jakie and Eva Cate for Mandy and John to have some time just to get out by themselves for awhile yesterday afternoon.
Today I will get to keep Rutledge while Mollie goes to a baby shower given to her by the gals at work. A wonderful Valentines weekend!
When I arrived at John and Mandy’s yesterday…Eva Cate greeted me with flowers and a card…and on the card…she had written Boo Boo in pink…the first time she had written it…a landmark in growing up. I was thrilled! Here are some snapshots from the day.
Mollie sent some pictures of Rutledge spending his Valentines eating a cupcake…can’t think of a better way to spend it myself.