This wonderful communion meditation was shared at Highland this past Sunday by my friend Donna Hester. I asked her for permission to pass it along to you.
This I Believe
By Donna Hester
I believe words are stronger than sticks and stones. This I believe.
I’ve always loved words. My life’s vocation has revolved around words.
I believe God spoke the world into existence with “It is good” and saved it once and for all with “It is finished.”
I know the power of words. I think of stirring words: “I have a dream”, “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind”, “Mr. President, tear down this wall”, “Mount up with wings like eagles”.
And more personal ones: “I, Adam, take you, Donna,” “You have a son,” “It’s cancer.”
Of comforting words: “See you in the morning”; “There is ice cream in the freezer”; “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
And I think of idle words—trivial, gossipy, tattling drivel that neither edifies nor uplifts, but erodes reputations, plants insinuation and carelessly tramples confidences.
And I think of words that build—“you can do this”; “I believe in you”; “come in!”
I think of words of deception—“We’ll stop whenever you want to”; “your insurance will pay”; “fits all sizes.”
I think of confessional words that knock the legs out from under Satan and let the air out of pretensions.
I think of words of love— “She walks in beauty like the night”; “Hi, Sweetheart”; “Call when you get there.”
Of scary words—“HIV positive”; “there’s been an accident.”
And I think of terrible, wounding words we send out like missiles: “fat,” “ugly,” “stupid,” “fag,” “retard,” “whore”–short little words that hit their mark and sear in pain so vivid that 50 years later they still burn.
I take words seriously. I have been hurt more by words than anything else—words written, words spoken and words unspoken.
And I have drawn life and courage from words—stayed afloat, stayed faithful and just stayed because of words.
It was not surprising that I chose theatre as a vocation. Bringing incarnation to the words in scripts. Getting them up on their feet and breathing life into them on the stage. Creating a person out of words.
And I wonder about this God who describes himself as Word. This Word who left us a book of words, who gave us the Word made flesh to dwell among us.
I have a dream. That humankind could learn to use words, not as sticks and stones of destruction, but as ladders and bridges to raise and build and connect. Maybe, just maybe, if we Christians (we image bearers of the Word) could consistently speak with words of kindness, encouragement, welcome and truth, God would look down and say, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”