One Word To Guide The Rest
I would love to write an Oscar-winning screenplay. I’d love to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Heck, I’d love it if my students would just listen. Words can be amazingly powerful if we pay attention to them. In the readings this week, words and stars are the symbols that help God’s people remember their final destination.
Look To The Stars
Do you remember “The Lion King” movie? After Simba’s father, Mufasa, died, he told his son that he would never truly leave him. He would always be watching from the heavens, where all of the old kings shined in the stars.
Daniel delivers a similar message in the Hebrew Scriptures. He speaks of a time when the dead will be raised and those who lead with justice will be like stars. Stars have always been the guideposts for ships traveling through dangerous waters. Their light brings to the weary traveler hope of reaching the destination. And remember that the wise men followed the star to find the newborn king in Bethlehem!
The same is true for us today. We are called to follow the light that is Christ’s love, emanating through time. It is there to remind us of creation’s goodness and to give us hope of what is to come.
Like the Hebrews who were happy to hear Daniel’s message, Jews throughout history have been a people of hope. Holocaust survivor Gerda Klein once visited the high school where I was teaching. She talked about persevering during the darkest time in her life in the concentration camps. She had made a promise to her father never to give up or try to escape her situation by suicide. Gerda reminded students that it is often on the darkest night that the stars shine the brightest.
Words That Live On
After the assembly, it was evident that Gerda’s words had touched the hearts of many students. All of the sophomore students also read her autobiography, All But My Life, and learned a great deal about what it takes to have faith in difficult times.
The power of words has always been amazing to me. There’s something magical about them, and I’m not just talking about magic words like “please” or “abracadabra.” Words that we hear enter us, are filtered through our brain, and become a part of us.
In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he talks about how writing is like mastering the art of telepathy. The writer chooses the best words, prints them, and then the reader reads them and creates an image in his head. The reader may have never met the writer, but he can share the same image. A good writer uses this power of telepathy to make the reader seem like he is experiencing everything first hand.
Students, who had previously never met Gerda, already knew of her experiences through her writing, but were given the complete picture when they met her.
Likewise, none of us have met Jesus in the physical sense of the word, but we can get a good idea of who he is through his words, actions, and the actions of the Body of Christ today. It is not until we meet him at the end our lives that we may see a more complete picture of who God is.
In the gospel, Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” This is an amazing concept because Christ is known as the Word. What a compliment to writers! God is the Word. He is the formal expression of the divine mind. The writers of scripture and Gerda Klein have graciously written about the human experience so that others may learn from it. It is in hearing their words of compassion, devotion, and tolerance that we learn to accept the Word, that is God.
Our mission as people of God is to use our words wisely. We must try our best to make sure our words are the expression of the Body of Christ. Our words may not be pondered upon for centuries like those of the Bible, or for decades like those of Gerda, but hopefully they are guideposts, bright stars, for those who need help along the way.
Whose words have really inspired you in your life?
What words do you wish that you could take back?
How familiar are you with God’s word?
Copyright 2009-2018 by Nick Popadich
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