The Second Week of Lent – Letting Go of Empty Words and Holding on to Wisdom
March 8, 2020
by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor
We live in a world awash in words. Tweets, billboards, texts, taglines, blogs, podcasts, headlines, newsfeeds, talk shows. Silence rarely surrounds us, and we become uncomfortable with anything less than a full assault on our senses. Whenever we find ourselves waiting or with a moment to spare, we instinctively go to a screen, scroll, distract ourselves and disengage from much that is all around us. Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to give us the words we most need when we most need them. All that Jesus asks of his disciples, he equips us to do. Jesus grounds his admonition not to worry in the promise that he will give us what we need when we are called upon to do his work. Nonetheless, we find ourselves often anxious and afraid. Could that be related to our sensory overload, our constant distraction, our inability to tune out the noise and hone our hearing to the Spirit’s signal?
Words matter and yet we blithely speak without thought, post without prayer, text without considering the consequences. We quickly respond to whatever stimulus is in front of us instead of stopping to seek the Spirit’s wisdom first.
What if this Lent we sought to let go of all that distracts us and attempted to discern the words the Spirit is giving us to speak and enact? We will surely mishear and fall short, but grace abounds and God continues to teach us. This week could we challenge ourselves to pay close attention to the words we utter and type and disseminate and ask ourselves if they reflect the teachings of Jesus, the character of God and the wisdom of the Spirit?
Lord, Word made flesh, grace upon grace, we pause to listen for what you are saying to your church. We lean in to hear your wisdom so that our speech will reflect your character. Guide our thoughts, our words, our actions so that all we do, every sound we utter, builds up and contributes to your present and coming kingdom. Amen.