In worship, there’s talk; the preacher talks; hopefully we talk to each other, at least politely, hopefully frankly, fully aware of being in a holy place. Worship may just be a school in how to talk during the week.
You are about to open your mouth (or type
the words…). But why? What’s about to pop out of there? As one who blurts things out before thinking,
I’ve longed to be like George Washington, who famously was thought to be quite
wise simply because he didn’t say much.
Can the simple act of talking (or not) help
me (and others) toward (or away from) God?
“Let the words of my mouth be acceptable to you, O Lord” (Psalm
19:14). I doubt God expects some pious,
sugary, lilting niceness in our talk.
But can we think of talk as an exercise of our faith?
Talk is cheap; we hear so much decadent,
even vicious talk. Words expose who we
are; words wound; words heal and give life.
Can I be not just honest but encouraging, saying things that are
excellent, helpful to others?
Can I learn when to refrain from talk? Bonhoeffer suggested that "Often we
combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them
to be expressed in words." Tell the
truth; but sometimes just hush if the truth is harmful?
If someone monitored your talk over a year
or two, what would they conclude really matters to you? Would they get a sense that God is in your
life? or that you are kind? or compassionate? or virtuous (without being smug)? What is the tone of my talk? and is my talk
(over many years) becoming more? or less acceptable to God? and encouraging to
We want to talk about God, but we may get
tongue-tied. Worship may just teach us
how to talk about God out there. Dorothy
Day said, "If I have achieved anything in my life, it is because I have
not been embarrassed to talk about God."