Tuesday November 17 2020

Scripture: James 3:1-12

Key verses: (5-6) “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire.”

Reflection: Fire, in and of itself, is neutral. It is simply energy. When it is focused and controlled it accomplishes great things. It can be used to cook, to heat, to propel forward. Uncontrolled, fire can be terribly destructive.  We’ve witnessed its power to destroy this year in recent fires in the west of our nation. 

So it is with our speech, suggests James.  Words, in an of themselves are simply words.  Yet they have the power to shape worlds, or to destroy them.  James warns his readers of the destructive power of words, of the need to control our tongues, and moderate our speech.  What a word for our world right now.  It is critically important that we measure our words and moderate how we employ them in these incendiary times. Let us heed James’ advice and choose to use our words for blessing, not for cursing. 

Poets know the power of words.  David Whyte is one of my favorites. I’ve been thinking about his poem, “Loaves and Fishes” in these days.  It exemplifies the power of words to bless:

Loaves and Fishes

This is not

the age of information.

This is not

the age of information.

Forget the news,

and the radio,

and the blurred screen.

This is the time

of loaves

and fishes.

People are hungry

and one good word is bread

for a thousand.

Prayer: “May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen.”

Author: Joe Clifford

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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