After all, we were asked for our ideas! My friend Harry and pastor Joe had scheduled a missions team meeting tonight, and after opening with prayer, Harry asked us to write down our understanding of what our mission statement should be. Having written Park's mission statement over 25 years ago, and having taught it in membership classes for most of those 25 years, I knew exactly what I would write. So I did. Unfortunately, it took a bit longer than most of the others, giving rise to a few good-natured comments to the effect that I must be writing a Facebook post. I guess that's good news - people are reading it. Better news would be if people are finding it helpful. Some apparently do; I get occasional comments, some from unexpected sources.
Words are my stock in trade. I've spent most of my adult life molding and shaping nouns and verbs, sentences and paragraphs, massaging them till they do my bidding. For some people, doing this would be torture; to me, it's an adventure trying to see if I can help people see what they hadn't seen before, whether it's within themselves, others, or in the world around us.
Words are fascinating things. We often talk about clarity in communication, but the fact is, people use words to hide the truth as much as to reveal it. The only proof we need of this is listening to all the political rhetoric that is flying around the presidential debates. But when used as God intended, they reveal that which can be known in no other way. If for example, you wanted to get to know me, you could talk to people who know me, you could watch what I do, but to really know me, we would need to talk. And if you tried talking with me, but I refused to respond, you would be unable to know my heart, my thoughts, desires, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears. You could discern that I am unfriendly or aloof, but the only way for you to get to know me is if we talk. That's what words are for. And it is why St. John calls Jesus the Word, the communication from God himself that reveals God's heart.
I am grateful tonight for words. Mine may at times be a bit more than required or desired, but they are the how I best communicate what is important to me. My hope is that my words clearly reveal Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and friend. If they do that, and if I make sure my actions match my words, I will have accomplished what I desire.