Pure words and healing.

Current events had got me musing about words, silence, speech, and idle talk, even before my dear friend Myriah came to visit. She and I grant each other the exercise of free speech, even civil discourse, but I found that more than those are required by the law of  love. I hope to write further on these topics soon, though I feel woefully inadequate. Meanwhile…

After Myriah had gone home, she wrote to thank me, and to apologize for what she thought was her own “noise” as she “tried to make sense of everything.” She said, “I came home and planned to curl up and read the Bible.” But family demands prevented her. I realized that I had robbed her of what should have been a respite from confusion, talking as I had as though raging and clanging could be truly rational. Probably we should have spent some part of our two-day visit reading the Gospel together. (The garden did rescue us several times.)

These were my thoughts this Saturday morning, as I prepared to attend Divine Liturgy for the Leavetaking of Pentecost. I was present to receive Communion, but I had read the Gospel for the day at home. It washed over me as a healing balm, not because its subject matter or meaning are any more pertinent than they have ever been, but because I know the Speaker to be Truth and Love incarnate, and His speech is in stark contrast to the loudest human sounds that accost our ears and eyes. I remembered this verse:

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
-Psalm 12:6

The Psalmist does not mean that God has to make seven rough drafts before He speaks, but that even our most refined and precious earthly things are only “something like” the Logos. These words of Christ from what is called “The Sermon on the Mount” were the Gospel reading for the day:

Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. 

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they?

So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

8 thoughts on “Pure words and healing.

  1. These are difficult days, and it is easy to slip into rage and discussing things to death. I too am grateful for God’s Spirit that uplifts and washes away the grime that quickly gathers.

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  2. I took a class the other day with women from my church. Our host teaches a Bible class. She has decided to go into Luke or Matthew. We find it important to go back to the heart of our faith. Back to the Red Letter words of Our Lord and Savior for strength and guidance during these days. For the peace only The Prince of Peace can give us.

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  3. The self-isolation and degrees of regulated self-contact related to the COVID-19 pandemic has left numerous people being restricted to their own company for over three months now. Even though we are now allowed to exercises during the day – alone – and go out to purchase ‘necessary provisions’ – no visiting of friends or family is permitted AT ALL. This is a ridiculous situation when one considers that one ends up mingling with total strangers (masked) in a shopping queue and those who have domestic workers may have them resume work … I have a child living in this town whom I haven’t seen for that long. He chats endlessly on the phone about this and that and this and that and this and that … the repetition is to illustrate what your friend thought of as ‘her own “noise” as she “tried to make sense of everything.” ‘ and what you call ‘talking as I had as though raging and clanging could be truly rational.’ There is a lot to digest these days and no-one to truly share it with if you live alone. You are both harsh on yourselves and are both probably better off for having grappled with things, even if it didn’t bring you peace at the time.

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    1. You are right, Anne! She and I have comforted and encouraged ourselves with similar (written) words just this morning. She has been more isolated than I by far. Our experience last week taught us both something about ourselves and made us thankful.

      Thank you for your kindness.

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  4. I think it is good to have space between friends to talk and talk and try to make sense of difficult things. It won’t be perfect and there will no doubt be disagreements but that is all part of the messy glorious state of being alive. We cannot all agree and we cannot transcend our humanity. Why should we? Slogging through conversational mire is part of working out what we think is right.

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  5. Good to have someone to share, even from a distance, or virtually. Blogging has that effect of sharing even though we haven’t actually met face to face. Blogging could well be a most effective channel of communication going forward. FaceTime and Skype are for people who know each other, but blogging is based on knowing someone from the words they have written, or getting a glimpse of their personality and character from their posts. Still anonymous, but also revealing. I love that! 🙂

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  6. What a thoughtful and insightful post, Gretchen. Conversations can be tough these days — there is so much going on, conflicting feelings, a sense of impotence, anxiety. Your words are good reminders to us all.

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  7. It is hard to know how to discuss things without anger entering in. My precious son posted a video this morning on Facebook which represented one point of view. I knew to try to even discuss what might be a differing view would only bring anger from some other commenters. (Not my son, even if he disgreed with me.) So, I’m thinking prayer is the only path. Everyone’s minds are made up and nobody is really listening and thinking about what others say. But the Holy Spirit can still reach hearts…if we pray. It is easy to allow all of this upset to take up too much room in our thoughts. Hugs to you, Gretchen! 🙂

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