Thursday, September 20, 2012

Word for the Weary

Below is an excerpt from this past Sunday's sermon by the Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple. To read the entire sermon, click here.

"...When speech itself has become so twisted, when civil discourse has become an endangered species,
when scoring points with sound bites is more important that getting the facts straight, when fact checking becomes only another pawn of partisanship, it is all enough to render us cynical and, worse, silent. “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire.”

The writer of the letter of James declares, “No one can tame the tongue - a restless evil, full of deadly
poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness
of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to
be so.”  We can use words to pronounce blessings.  We can use words to utter a curse. Too often we
are artless hypocrites.  But our speech can be more than hypocritical.  Our words can be harmful.
They have the power to hurt and even to destroy.  Angry words leave invisible scars that cause
tangible harm in the lives of those we wish to hurt, but sometimes more so upon those we claim to

...The church is where we get speech therapy.  We learn the words that will guide us in daily life.  We
confess that we have sinned against God and our neighbor. We say the words and make the signs that
“the peace of the Lord may always be with you.”  As people of the Book of Common Prayer, we say
many of the same words over and over.  Many of my Methodist, Presbyterian friends are like, “How
can you do that?  Say the same words over and over?”  But watch what happens for those of you
long-time worshippers here.  If I say, “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are” (congregation
responds) “open, and all desires are” (congregation responds) “known, and from whom no”
(congregation responds) “secrets are hid.”  There’s something deep in us and we need that, especially
at the moments where we are imprisoned by sickness or fear or despair."

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