I’ve noticed something. You’re pretty confident when you settle in to read, well, anything. You’re no slouch; you intend to grasp the meaning of the text on the page. Even if the author is difficult (somewhat tedious but good for the gray matter like St. Augustine) or beyond your everyday thinking (like Adam Smith), you go into said reading session with the certain boldness of Genghis Khan expecting a victory. You seem to (rightly) think that the author intentionally wrote the material for you (or someone—perhaps some other cultural audience) to understand. You enter the sometimes arduous task with the happy expectation that even if figurative language is employed, the author actually wants you to “get it”. Like a low hanging apple, each phrase is placed within the reader’s reach.
It’s morning, it’s early and it’s Christmas. Vanilla and ginger still adorns the air after a week of Mom’s baking. You step onto the floor that shivers with winter and snuggle into your cozy slippers before hurrying out of your room, down the hallway and into the living room where your family’s Christmas tree stands. Beneath it in brilliant bursts of gold and red and green with dashes of blue and flashes of white are wrapped presents—some of them for you, some for your siblings.
Words are special.
Now when I say a word is special, obviously I don’t mean merely the making of A Word. Some random combination of markings displayed in a visual manner isn’t very special. But the combination of phonetics and markings that contain meaning: that’s special—precious even.
So words are un-hewn diamonds. Each letter a facet waiting for added dimension, color and brightness. Each word waiting to be used and begin sparkling with a unique intensity cut at its own perfect angle and finally displayed on the velvet of a sentence to reveal its unique glory. Each a potential shining adornment to be displayed, cherished and understood.
They’re the wonder of the caves in Lascaux, France. The markings and drawings are not so random relegated to some mindless beast but they evidence intelligence, purpose and a desire to be remembered and understood. No matter how crude, the “words” on those cave walls they were someone’s diamonds on display.
The thing about diamonds is that they’re purpose is not merely display: they’re meant to be given. The worth of them tells the person we give them to something about how we feel, what we think of them and what we expect from our being around each other. The diamond took years to forge and careful days to cut out the dross and will continue on.
Although one can speak about the beauty of diamonds or their worth all of this doesn’t matter until its placed on Her finger. There she merely has to convey the words “I’m engaged” to others and extend her hand to reveal the crystallized fire on her hand. The story of how it got there comes after the fact but the one that made it all the intangible story mean something was the evidence of the diamond on her finger.
Each word is carefully chosen but isn’t kept hidden. For a word to convey information it must be recorded and that results in language, in a tangible reality, in writing.
Nothing connects you and me but the words written here. I give them to you.
When God decided to convey information that was to last He told Moses in Exodus 17:4 “Write these words.” When God wanted the Law to be kept He personally wrote out the Law. When Christ speaks to John at some later date He tells John “Write these words.”
The words of God weren’t only stated: they were written. Then they were given to you and to me.
Words are special.