John’s Monthly Letter

“LENTEN DISCIPLINE”

Dear Hopefulls,

This month I would like to share with you the daily devotional sent by our United Church of Christ denomination on August 28, 2008. The reflection is entitled “What’s in a Word.” The author is Kenneth L. Samuel. Here is a slightly edited version:

Scripture “You are the light of the world… So let your light shine…” Matthew 5:14-15 Reflection: Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me,” lied. The truth is that just a few words can bring about enmity between spouses, animosity between friends and discord in a community. And just as a few of the wrong words can wound us and cut us to our hearts, a few of the right words can heal us, lift us and inspire us. Words like, “I love you;” words like “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” or “You are
forgiven… let’s be friends;” words like, “With God, all things are possible” — these are words that save our lives. As Christians, we are disciples of God’s incarnate Word — God’s Word made flesh. When we fail to make God’s Word animate, active and vibrant in the lives we live, our words become empty, hollow and meaningless. And God, who became Word in the flesh, is never ever pleased with empty words. Prayer: Gracious God, please allow the words that we speak to find meaning and matter in the lives that we live. Incarnate your Word in us, so that all will know that you mean what you say. Amen.

Years ago a friend invited me to a Rotary Club meeting in St. Joseph. I was given a coffee mug inscribed with the Rotary Club logo and these words: “The 4-WAY Test of the things we think, say, or do: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER Friendships? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?” It may be asking too much of us to ponder these words before each time we speak or act. But I bet if we got into the habit of considering these words the world would be a much kinder place. This year my Lenten discipline will include trying to incorporate these words into my daily speech and actions. Then, by Easter, even if I have succeeded just a little bit, I will have taken at least another step on my faith journey. How about you? Have you considered anything to give up or take on for the season of Lent? This year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, falls on Valentine’s Day. In 2018 what Valentine of Lenten discipline will you be sending God?

Blessings for the Lenten Journey…

Peace and love,
John