Skip to main content

More thoughts on 'words'.... (Hosea 14:1-9)

‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm 19:14)

I know the sayings, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ and ‘After all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done’. Yet today I want to say something in praise of words. For today’s reading exhorts the people to ‘take words’ with them as they return to the Lord (v 2). Of course, we want to avoid empty words and idle talk – but words matter, or I would not be writing and you would not be reading. Words shape our thinking and our doing. Indeed, speaking is a form of doing. Without words, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to express our thoughts, hopes or regrets, our sorrows, dreams or cares. Words are essential to expression and may be necessary even for thought.

In evangelical circles, we tend to prioritise spontaneity and extemporary expression, but this passage favours the careful use of words. ‘Take words’, says Hosea. Then he specifies what words should be brought. He lays down a form of liturgy. ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say “Our gods” to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion’ (vs 2,3).

When we are insincere, we ‘weary the Lord with our words’ (compare Malachi 2:17). Yet this is true whether our words are spontaneous or rehearsed. The advantage of using prepared liturgy is that we can take the time to think about what we are going to say. Whether we write the prayers ourselves or use the work of others, the act of poring over a text can help sharpen our focus and hone our commitments. Especially when praying with others, thoughtful words can become the vehicle for transformative prayer.

Robert Parkinson

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sabbatical in summary...

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’ 
Oh God, can those words be for me too?
How I long to hear them!
I’m not Moses, but I’m also on a journey – trying to follow Jesus.Some days, life seems like an unmarked wilderness,
and I’m not sure which way to go.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to trust.Other days, I’m so busy that I don’t stop to listen.
I’m stressed and distracted and frazzled.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to pause and take time for you.Then there are the days when I do remember.
I walk restfully in your presence.
How different those days are.‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I believe you Lord. Those words are for me. 
Your presence does go with me and give me rest.
Thank you Lord!Amen
Richard England

Fruitfulness on the frontline....

Imagine what God might do if our Mission Area Conference used this resource to think about our mission... https://youtu.be/SyMMfyy3FDE
‘6Ms’ of fruitful living:Modelling Godly Character – On our frontline godly character is both developed and displayed. How do we model the fruits of the Spirit where we are day-by-day?Making Good Work – There is dignity and value in the everyday tasks that we do. What would it mean if we saw how our tasks and work can be done with and for God?Ministering Grace and Love – In the light of the grace that God has shown to us, how might we minister grace and love to those we interact with on our frontlines?Moulding Culture -What can we affirm about the way we ‘do life round here’? How can we influence the culture on our frontlines so people flourish more?Being a Mouthpiece for Truth and Justice – How might we become champions of right living and fair dealing on our frontlines and courageous enough to speak up when necessary?Being a Messenger of the Gospel – …