Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seaside Rock... (post number 1000)

Words are important. Without them our actions lose meaning. And without meaning we cannot live. Words can offer perspective, insight, understanding, and vision. Words can bring consolation, comfort, encouragement and hope. Words can take away fear, isolation, shame, and guilt. Words can reconcile, unite, forgive, and heal. Words can bring peace and joy, inner freedom and deep gratitude. Words, in short, can carry love on their wings. A word of love can be the greatest act of love. That is because when our words become flesh in our own lives and the lives of others, we can change the world.

Jesus is the word made flesh. In him speaking and acting were one...

Words that do not become flesh in us remain "just words." They have no power to affect our lives. If someone says, "I love you," without any deep emotion, the words do more harm than good. But if these same words are spoken from the heart, they can create new life.

It is important that we keep in touch with the source of our words. Our great temptation is to become "pleasers," people who say the right words to please others but whose words have no roots in their interior lives. We have to keep making sure our words are rooted in our hearts. The best way to do that is in prayerful silence.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

We seem to me to be incarnate beings through and through. God's image is written in us like the words in a stick of seaside rock - but it is written in the flesh and blood, bones and neurons of which we are made. We are not ghosts stuck in machines, awaiting some kind of liberation: we are all of a piece, and holy.

Saying this, of course, gives us an odd sense of responsibility. If we are like sticks of rock, but bearing the image of God all the way through instead of the words "Blackpool Rock", then wherever we go, whatever we do, that image goes with us. The name for thinking about this is perhaps "penitence"...

A thought: this is post number 1000 on The Mercy Blog. Perhaps I should order a commemorative stick of rock?


  1. Congratulations on post 1000! The reading here has been wonderful.

  2. Congratulations from me as well, Mike. We are all more thoughtful, deeper beings for the words and glimpses of your life and your struggles that you share with us here.