Sunday, September 17, 2006

Words, Words, Words

Words, words, words,
I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through,
first from him, now from you.
Is that all you blighters can do?
Don't talk of stars, burning above.
If you're in love, show me!

Eliza Dolittle, My Fair Lady

I'm up late finishing my sermon for Big Ivy U. It's not as bad as it might have been. I am preaching on James 3:1-12, on the portion I mentioned earlier in the week about teaching. But ultimately, with James, I find myself returning to this theme of words, how important and powerful they are, and how they'd damn well better match up with our actions.

The Psalm for today (for it is Sunday, now) is Psalm 19, which carries on this theme of words, beginning with the beautiful ode on the speech of creation:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-3

Even the created realm, the firmament, is speaking--shouting!--the glory of God. But as eloquent as that speech, it pales and fades away by comparison to the speech of God, extolled in glorious and rhythmic couplets that just make you want to be a 5th grade Sunday School student and set to memorizing again:

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the LORD are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:7-10

I read somewhere earlier in the week that John Calvin considered this to be a perfect prayer, his favorite of all the psalms. I get that. I tell you, I read this, I pray it aloud, and it locks into some part of my brain and begins to produce some kind of amazing God-drug. Maybe that is what the psalmist means by "sweeter than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb." It's a sugar-buzz I'm feeling, I swear it.

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