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  • Neil Chappell

The Majesty of Words

There are times when the internet leads you down a blind alley. You come up short. You feel dissatisfied. You don’t achieve your intentions.


Then are those moments when the internet leads you into another realm – and there is the distinct possibility you will be lost to the ether for hours on end, if not days! This happened to me as I began to research this reflection. I wanted to approach the theme of the world around us by thinking of the majesty of words. I then came across some terrific thoughts from poets, writers, children, parents, comedians, theologians, politicians, activists and many more.


One of the blogs I read was on the Psychology Today website, written by Louise Taylor who is a qualified counsellor and ecotherapist (and yes, I had to Google that term, and it took me down another interesting worm-hole!). Her blog was entitled Neurodiversity and the Majesty of Words – perhaps you can see why I was drawn to it. In it, she said this:


“You see, for some people, words are just words; they are sounds, utterances, noises, and they are all those things to me, too, but words make me feel things. Words make me feel things truly, madly, deeply. I’ve fallen in love with words on paper, on screen, on cards, on film—those characters all thrown together into a formation that brings meaning to the receiver.

I’ll give you examples of words that have evoked emotional responses from me. The word "dump" often makes me wince, the word "love" makes me smile and gives me a warm sensation, the word "onomatopoeia" makes me feel smart, and the word "solastalgia" is so beautiful and tragic I find it hard not to well up when I think about it.

Words impact me greatly, not because I am mad, not because I am unstable, but because I am autistic, and I experience the world differently from most of the population. Even though I am autistic, and the word "autism" refers to the isolated self and indicates the loneliness that often accompanies the disorder, l know I am not alone. I know there are many of us. And by us, I mean the geeks, the freaks, the outcasts, the nerds, the deviants, the rebels, the radicals, the non-conformists, the ones you just can’t put into a box. The ones you can’t explain, can’t control, and who refuse to fit into the limiting prisons of societal and cultural expectations.”


The non-conformists! That us. We’re on the list! We like words. They impact us. We want to search for their meaning. We like listening to them. Reciting them. And not just words, but also The Word. The Word has always been supremely important for non-conformists. So important we call it the Sacrament of The Word. Reading it, studying it, singing it, searching it, explaining it, saying it.

I cannot begin to express my feelings when I hear the most simple of sentences:


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NRSV)


The effect is spellbinding, it connects me intimately with my God, my Creator. Wow! Aren’t words beautiful? Not just beautiful, but majestic. They take us into the presence of God, they open this world to be explored and discovered, to take each and every one of us on an amazing journey.


Prayer

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips (Psalm 141:3 NLT).

Incomparable God, take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips when I am about to say something I should not say. Help me think before I speak. Help me pause before I speak. Help me make sure that the words I speak are worth hearing. If they are not, let me be silent. Being quiet may be better than being foolish. Being silent may be better than being critical, judgmental, or destructive.

Incomparable God, take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips as I share words of majesty and wisdom. May they be words of healing, wholeness, hope and inspiration.

Amen.

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