Pastor Larry reminded us today that despite all of the turmoil of the world, the Lord is not only with us, but hears our calls and petitions. Larry cited the 40th Psalm in his introduction: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
What firmer place to stand than with the One who created dry land, and who calmed chaotic seas (Genesis 1)? Jesus told us that it is the epitome of wisdom to build upon the firm foundation of God (Matthew 7). That wisdom we can see manifested in our Psalm: “He turned to me and heard my cry.”
So why are so many of us silent? When we hear of pandemics, we scramble to buy toilet paper rather than appeal to the Great Healer Himself to aid us. When some see injustice in the world, they scribble placards and take to the streets, rather than asking for the assistance of the Judge of the World.
There is at present not only the rumours of wars, but actual fighting in the streets. Yes, we should be like the early church of Acts (chapter 2) and send aid, but how much more should we send our prayers! Look at Acts 6. The needs were there, and the Apostles had priorities! They appointed the seven so that they could dedicate themselves to “to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Maybe we live in a time when we feel devalued and unlistened to. We get vague acknowledgements of our voices from our peers. We ask, “How are you?,” meaning little more than “Hello.” We are quick to think that our fears, problems, and concerns are not worthy of consideration, because that is how this world treats our appeals. But when we are patient. There is One who is faithful, and will turn to us and listen. And He promises to give us exceedingly, abundantly more than we even ask for. It is the time to not be silent. It is time to be heard.
The power of words is immense. Ideas have the ability to sway emotions, and to spawn their own natural offspring. How one presents these ideas, however, has the power to stifle or to nurture the core message. What is said must have merit if it is to truly have sway, or at least it should be so. But history has shown that golden ideas misrepresented or construed have failed, where ideas bearing no nobility have encouraged crowds to do the unthinkable whether they are from some podium in Munich or in Washington DC.
I value logic. I embrace semantics and philosophical truths. Yet, I have to acknowledge that rhetoric has the ability to obscure truth, to make emotion override reason, and to lead to a lessening of the collective good. That being the case I must respond to Fandango’s question: “In the context of blogging and writing, what do you think is more important: what you say or how you say it?,” that it is how you say it that matters most.
What we write and blog is diminished if our ideas are poorly framed. What we post is as susceptible to dismissal because of “bad writing” as any other form. If we annoy with our grammar, we lose the readers heart. Furthermore, no matter how true our premise, or sound our conclusion, if it offends because of a lack of tact, we have often lost the battle. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” it has been said. It is here that I risk losing support for my well-considered response by equating my readers with flies. Trust me, however, that you are neither small minded insects, or nuisance-some bugs, but the mirrors of, we the bloggers’ inner voices.
It is amazing how quickly good intentioned practices become mere cliché. Greetings do this. “How do you do?” is not so much an enquiry as to someone’s well being as it is a formal hello. The response of “Quite well, thank you,” is the expected retort, as the asker does not genuinely want to know your life story. “Howdy,” while less formal, still generally expects no deep response, though a rustic “Fair to middl’n,” seems an appropriate response. While some in the USA might actually care to hear how someone is doing, the British are far less eager to hear. “How are you,” should be greeted with an “Okay, and you?” or an “All right.” Lately however this has morphed into an “Allright?,” which is responded to with an “Allright.”
Another thing that has my hackles up a bit is the insistence of many Americans to thank Veterans for their service. While the acknowledgement of service is appreciated, it become cliché when it becomes a constant, as a by rote exercise rather than a statement of true appreciation.
Heartfelt gestures are always appreciated by me, and I am sure this is true of most people. But please say what you mean, and mean what you say; and if you mean to be mean, then just don’t say anything.