Amplified Words.

Well I missed a few days in the Advent journey. Since the last time I posted I was hit with something…not sure what, but my body was not happy. 103 degree fever and four kids means no time at all for computer or much of anything.

I only caught snippets of what was happening around the social media world. Words seemed to be flying. In several different places, actually, words were being tossed around with great conviction, and yet…I wonder how many were hitting their mark.

Of course there is the whole discussion of Phil Robertson and his comments, his suspension and all the uproar. Another person, Justine Sacco, who did not hold the fame of Roberston felt quickly what it is to be in the spotlight for your choice of words.

In the midst of this Advent Season…a season that I have tried to suggest should be marked more by peace and listening than by noise and frustration and stress…I have found myself bombarded with noise. And frustration. And stress.

The frustration and the stress? Mostly just because my body is not up to doing the tasks I need to accomplish and I feel stressed that I will not complete the goals I set. The Advent readings have slipped by. The house is a mess. But you know what, the kids have been awesome and we learn that sometimes you have to have grace for each other. A lot of times.

The noise…it can to some degree be turned down by ignoring the computer and the tv. Turning it off literally. Still, the conversations persist, and the dividing line becomes the issue. Are you with him or against him? Is he a bigot? Is she racist? Is he…is she…are you? We begin lashing out our own words and adding to the noise. We are quick in our responses and eager to add to the fray.   Maybe we have to go back to what I just said above…sometimes we have to have grace for each other. A lot of times.

I read this from Ann Voskamp today, and it said it so much more clearly than I ever could…please take the time to read her thoughts. The point is, our words matter. Even the little asides, and the quick tweets. The impromptu responses that we wish we could take back. They matter.

The coarse language laced on FaceBook, the tweets with vulgarity. They matter.  Words spoken with the intent to divide and to bring shame or anger, they matter.

How we say something matters…for that one moment…but also how we have said the bulk of our words matters. Social media has changed things. We can have an impact on government, on celebrities, on economy…simply by typing 140 characters and sending them off to thousands of people. Justine Sacco is an incredible example of the power of Twitter.

Sometimes, I think, and especially at moments like Advent, we need to settle with silence when the noise is ramping up. When everyone is getting more charged, that is the time to step back and pause. To prepare to speak with grace and with compassion, and with thought. To not shoot off-the-cuff words that now have the power to be held in the internet for all to see.

Our words have always mattered. They have always had power, but that power and visibility has been so radically amplified our wisdom in using our words needs to be equally amplified. The best way? Be silent and sit for a moment. Then speak when we are ready to engage in conversation rather than just hashtags.

Remember that the ultimate Word came to us.  The Word gave life to everything.

He was not liked by all, He was not tame and neat and elegant. He does not come to leave us be. He does not come to give us holiday delights. He does not come be nothing more than a slogan. He comes, He came, to change us.

Advent is not done. The noise has been loud. Turn it off for a bit and be with the One who comes in silence.

Ready For The Silence

Then hear now the silence
He comes in the silence
in silence he enters
the womb of the bearer
in silence he goes to
the realm of the shadows
redeeming and shriving
in silence he moves from
the grave cloths, the dark tomb
in silence he rises
ascends to the glory
leaving his promise
leaving his comfort
leaving his silence

So come now, Lord Jesus
Come in your silence
breaking our noising
laughter of panic
breaking this earth’s time
breaking us breaking us
quickly Lord Jesus
make no long tarrying
When will you come
and how will you come
and will we be ready
for silence
                  your silence
– Madeleine L’Engle
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