Some thoughts from your Elders

Every now and then the RVC Elders will post a few thoughts or reflections

This is where you can find them

Intentional Language

Mick McIvor

5/10/20

 

If you are human you will no doubt have had the experience of words coming out of your mouth, that as the air is being pushed past your vocal chords, you wish you could take them back. Sometimes, your brain is even setting off an internal alarm bell, warning you of an impending issue with what you are about to say; but it’s too late. The words escape your lips, and are out in the open doing whatever it is that language can do.

 

Occasionally though, it goes the other way doesn’t it? Just sometimes, you walk away knowing that you just spoke words, phrases & sentences that were the exact right things to say in the moment; you have no idea where they came from. But they too are out there and doing good things instead of damage. Words have power. They define, build up, tear down, destroy, create; I love how the book of Genesis tells us that “God Spoke” and things came into being. In Proverbs 12:18 we hear that “there is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”. Wisdom would/should tell you that this is a critical life lesson to be learned. Part of the learning is simply becoming aware of the power that you contain within your own speech. These are all tangents to where this started in my own head. Let me back track a little.

 

Last night I was watching a film. Some WW2 soldiers were about to embark upon a very dangerous mission. As they were about to depart, one soldier said to the other “Godspeed Skipper!” It gave me a moment of pause. My first thought was “what does this actually mean and where did it originate?” It was first discovered in text in the late 14th Century. Most meanings circle around “(I wish that) God (may) grant you success.” It seems to have morphed throughout the ages. The more I discover about this word, the more I think what a wonderful blessing it is to impart upon someone. But has it come to exist in the realm of other sayings that we just throw out there without really knowing what they mean? Phrases like “Adios” or “Via con Dios”; Dios in this phrase is literally “God”. So to farewell people with either of these phrases is to literally urge them to go forward from here alongside God. 

 

As I started the process of thinking about the content of this devotional, lo & behold, quite by chance I came across 3 or 4 references to being “brought to ones knees”; it’s been in the news occasionally, where it’s describing the idea that this current pandemic is causing us to enter a default state of weakness by being brought to our knees; in this instance it would seem to be a statement of submission to being defeated. If you scratch around a little with this one, you soon find that there are other ways to understand this. There are references in the bible of “every knee bowing” before God. There are a number of contemporary worship songs that posit the idea of asking God to bring us to our knees. Indeed, in my own humble way I wrote a song that speaks of the revelation of who God is in my life; this revelation brought me to my knees, or so the song says. In all of these instances, it would seem that God is allowing us to view the idea of being brought to our knees as a place of freedom and not one of defeat. Like the off the cuff use of the word “Godspeed”, a deeper exploration & understanding of what it could mean leads us to discover words that have power to restore people to Christ. Can you imagine leading people to a place where they saw that being brought to their knees before God almighty, is a goal worth aiming for and not a statement of defeat?

 

Finally, in an earlier part of my life I used to work with a team of people that conducted retreats for senior secondary schools. We would typically have 3 days with them to explore  all manner of important life issues, including faith & belief. The final session of these camps usually included some sort or Benediction in which we attempted to farewell the students with a moment that we hoped would stick with them. One such moment included us farewelling the students with the following blessing;

“May the peace of Christ disturb you”

Now, you might read that and think “well that doesn’t sound very uplifting”. Maybe, maybe not. Like some of the other words & phrases above, perhaps there is a positive power in these words that we get to use with great effect once we understand what we are saying. Can you imagine a world that is motivated by people who have encountered Christ in such a real way, that this encounter has disturbed their world to a point where they can no longer sit still, they must act. When you begin to think like this, you soon realise that words are at our disposal; you realise that words have power (power to create, power to destroy), you realise that when you ask God, He will give you the words to say. It’s nothing to do with being a brainiac; it is everything to do with realising that relationships with people, present us with opportunities to communicate what we’ve come to know about God. 

 

With this devotional, I really hope that you think about the everyday language you use around the people in your lives. When you hear words & phrases, you don’t just walk past them but you ask yourself “I wonder what that means”?

 

So, I finish with these three thoughts

 

May the Peace of Christ Disturb you

May the Lord Himself bring you to your knees

Godspeed

 

PS: I just heard the Collingwood Football Club theme song which has the line “Oh the premiership’s a cake walk”......

What the heck is a cakewalk????

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