Lenten Journey #19

Words have power.

Mean words. Happy words. Sarcastic words. Lack of words.

Mother Teresa once, “Words that do not give the Light of Christ increase the darkness.”

Thumper said, “If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Even the Book of Leviticus had something to say about it. There was a disease that affected the Jewish people when they gossiped. It was a lot like leprosy, leaving white patches all over their face and body. According to Jewish wisdom and Leviticus, the cure was a spiritual one as well as a physical one. Two birds were to be offered by the priest in the offender’s name. One bird was sacrificed, representing the “bad words” being killed off. The other was released, reminding the offender that words used for good will fly high and bring the blessings of song and beauty to the world.

Rabbe Jesus was also big on words, but in our society, we tend to see Him through a very narrow view-finder. Loving. Kind. Forgiving. Messiah. But this Rabbe was fully God and fully Man. He didn’t sugar coat His message to sell His ideas. While His deeds were often kind, forgiving and loving, His stories could be, just as often, dark and scary. The temple will be destroyed. The rejected cornerstone. Throw the wedding guest into the darkness. A dead fig tree…

Following the Book of Matthew these past few weeks, has reminded me just how powerful the words of Rabbe Jesus truly were. When I was little, many of these Bible stories never made their way to my Sunday School classes, and even if they did, I wouldn’t fully understand the symbolism of them because I had no Jewish wisdom to help interpret them. (I thought I was a great Bible student back in high school and college; after all, I went to church and youth group every week, prayed every night…well…mostly… read lots of books about religion and reincarnation – but in reality – I had no clue because I didn’t really digest the WORD.) Rabbe Jesus was the WORD, so He knew their power, and at the end of His journey, it was His final gift to us. He was the sacrificed bird. The WORD took within Himself the bad words and deeds of ourselves. Now it is up to us to release the Good News [Word] in to the world, releasing its beauty and music so that the world might be blessed until He returns. And He will return…whether we are ready or not.

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