Instagram, Jesus, and The Power of Words

This is my first blog entry in almost two months.  Some of the blame goes to the fact that I’ve been working on a church plant launching in a few weeks while also finishing up my last few seminary classes.  But equal blame must be given to Instagram.  After years of relenting, I finally bought an iPhone a couple of months ago and then immediately downloaded Instagram.  It seems that I simultaneously forgot how to write.  This blog went untouched and unchecked.  My twitter went from being a place to share my thoughts in prose to a digital art gallery of 5-megapixel snippets of my uneventful life, gussied up with “this-isn’t-really-as-cool-as-it-looks” filters like X-pro II or Hefe.  So instead of writing about my thoughts on God, faith, hope, love, etc., I’ve spent my time recently bringing you thoughtful pieces such as…

Hairs on Faces in Strange & Lovely Places

Tapatio Versus Dinosaur on Volcanic Rock

My Imminent Future

I’ve missed writing.  For me, writing is an exhale of thoughts, ideas and questions.  Not writing makes me feel sick.  It takes a while but eventually I start to feel an emotional nausea, as though the stuff rumbling around inside starts to spoil.  So here I am, writing again and it feels great.

The phrase A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words is said to find its roots in advertising.  It’s catchy and clever and memorable.  At times it’s romantic.  But it’s incomplete.  Advertising is by nature incomplete.  A picture may very well be worth a thousand words but the truth is, a few well written or well spoken words can paint a thousand pictures.  Words have erected and toppled empires.  Words have inspired and broken hearts.  Words have spoken into life both good and evil over the course of human history.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John begins his Gospel this way.  Logos [λόγος] is Greek for word.  This is how John describes Jesus.  Words are relational by nature.  When a word is spoken or written, its significance lies not in its utterance or written form in and of itself.  Rather, its significance lies in what the word does when it reaches the listener or reader.  Words come to life only in as much as they affect those for whom the word was given.  And in Jesus, the Word that was with God and the Word that is God, we receive the most powerful word ever spoken.  It is a word of grace and hope and love.  Regarding this passage at the beginning of John’s Gospel, N.T. Wright says:

John is consciously echoing the first chapter of Genesis: In the beginning God made heaven and earth; in the beginning was the Word.  When the Word becomes flesh, heaven and earth are joined together at last, as God always intended.

And so God speaks his Word to us in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son and his Son, the Word, brings it all together.  The Word of God mends back together the fabric of reality that was torn in the Garden.  The Word restores the union that was always intended for heaven and earth – that they would be one and the same, God with us, walking in the cool of the day as he did in Genesis 3.  May this be a reminder to us that words matter.  Our words, whether spoken, written, or otherwise expressed, matter.  What we say to God and what we say to others – it all matters.

So speak and write words that mend and restore.  Your words have the power to heal.  So speak and write them well.  Join together the broken things of this world with your words.  Speak light into dark places.  Write joy into the hearts of the hurting.  Put down your phone, stop living 5-megapixels at a time, and spend some time on crafting words of life that just might help change the world.

5 comments

  1. Were you talking with Pastor Scott? He just finished a series based on the power of words. Core Scripture was Proverbs 18:21 from The Message translation:

    Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts Jay. Something about the way that Eugene Peterson crafts the text in John 1 has always stuck with me.

    “The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood. ”

    In a similar way, our words have tangible significance. And you have an awesome way of sharing it. I’m glad to see you writing again.

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