Once upon a time there was a holy man who was known far and wide as a healer. There was a doctor who used all his skills as well as those of other doctors to help his sick child. More out of desperation than faith and because of the demand of his wife, he brought his daughter to the holy man. The hermit prayed a few words as he placed his hands upon the girls head. The doctor, who thought this was all a waste of time, asked sarcastically, “How is it possible to heal someone w/ a few spoken words?”
From a mild mannered monk angry words are never expected. But the holy man turned to the man and shouted, “You know nothing about it. You are a fool.” The doctor was very much offended. His blood pressure rose and his face became red. The hermit held up his hand and spoke. “When a few words have the power to make you hot and angry, why shouldn’t a few words have the power to heal?
Words can be powerful things as we heard in our readings this morning. After King Cyrus of Persia defeated Babylon, he allowed the Jews who had been carried off into Babylon for 50 years to return to Jerusalem. God gave Ezra the mission of rebuilding their spiritual life. He uses readings from the Bible and those words caused people to cry.
As part of the Jewish Synagogal service, any 30 year old male could take his turn and read aloud a selection from one of the prophets. Jesus chose a passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah that people understood as having to do with the Messiah. In essence he was saying to the people in his home town that he was the Messiah. He simple words provoked a strong reaction. Jesus was run out of town.
Here and throughout the Bible, the Word of God always calls for a response on the part of its listeners. Today, I would like us to think about how we can use the power of speech — our words — in the right way.
- pray and sing;
- be positive;
- be truthful;
- be prophetic
Words can be powerful and need to be used in the right way. As the story I shared with you teaches, words can hurt and words can heal. This week try to be aware of the words you use, choose them wisely and use them well.