Raise your hand if you read all the way through the 50 pages of conditions and excuses before clicking the little boxed ‘x’ on the screen. Ditto, if you understand the pharmaceutical ad on TV when the announcer rattles off the 600-word essay in a blistering 8 seconds. Or maybe the instruction manual that came with your latest gadget, you know, the mini map-pleated document in English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese, furnished in the most miniscule of fonts possible (Now, place your left hand on a Bible and raise your right hand . . .).
Despite those extremes, there are times when words have substance and significance. I still remember as a senior in high school, sitting in the gymnasium for our final history exam, desks all spread out about 8’ apart. It was a three-hour, all essay, test. The teacher/proctor urged us to take the time to read through the entire test paper before beginning. Most of us initially checked the number of questions (10) divided them into our 180 minutes and came up with 18 minutes per question and started some serious panicking. It must have been the Holy Spirit (or my naturally obedient student self!?) and I actually did read through the questions at his prompting. The last page contained this, or similar, “Choose any three (3) questions from the selection above. Enjoy your time.” (needless to say, there was a Biblical amount of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth afterward when those who had made a feverish, albeit feeble, stab at all 10 questions discovered the ‘trick’!)
We know that Jesus is the uppercase ‘w’ word, but many of his words are received by us as lowercase ‘w’ words, just as they were by his disciples. Maybe it’s because most of us aren’t reading from a Bible where the words of Jesus are printed in attention-grabbing red. Maybe it’s because we’ve heard those words many times and they don’t impact us as being uppercase ‘w’ words. Maybe it’s because they are often read loud as if they are lowercase ‘w’ words. Maybe it’s because we can’t focus clearly on any one thing long enough to process the life-giving vitality contained in those words.
As we continue journeying with the disciples through their forty days with Jesus post-Resurrection, imagining them rehearsing words the Word had spoken to them, we are choosing to open our hearts to what we, too, may have missed or underestimated in all that Jesus said and did. What beauty have we overlooked? What treasures were tucked away in seemingly normal communications (as if any communication with Jesus could be normal!)? Imagine! Every time Jesus opened his mouth to speak, the opulent, mind-expanding riches of the very courts of Heaven spilled out! The vastness of Eternity’s Love cascaded wastefully over its hearers! The Invitation of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was Spirit-deposited into all hearts within earshot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss one of those precious invitations! Let’s talk more tomorrow, 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD