2009 - Vol. 26
the Word of Life
Words have impact – they have power to change hearts and the course
of lives, and to mobilize citizens, armies, and global communities. Words
can build up or tear down, bless or curse.
We can see a dramatic example of the power of words in JRR Tolkien’s
epic work, The Lord of the Rings. In Part Two, The Two Towers,
chapter six (portrayed in the movie version as well), we hear how Saruman,
who allied himself with the dark Lord of Mordor, was able to weaken the
defenses of the kingdom of Rohan by securing the allegiance of King Theoden’s
chief counselor, named Grima Wormtongue. King Theoden had been a courageous
defender of the free West. But Wormtongue succeeded in weaving a web of
deception around the king and his court. As Theoden came under the spell
of Wormtongue, the king physically lost his vitality and was crushed in
spirit. He became an unwitting, vulnerable pawn of the enemy. When Gandalf
the Wise spoke words of truth and courage to Theoden, he broke the spell
which had bound the king.
“Now Theoden son
of Thengel, will you hearken to me?” said Gandalf. .."Not all is dark.
Take courage, Lord of the Mark; for better help you will not find. No counsel
have I to give to those that despair. Yet counsel I could give, and words
I could speak to you. Will you hear them? They are not for all ears. I
bid you come out before your doors and look abroad. Too long have you sat
in shadows and trusted to twisted tales and crooked promptings.”
As Theoden listened to Gandalf’s word of counsel, his hope was revived,
and he rose up with renewed strength, courage, and determination to lead
his people into battle against the enemy.
Words to rouse
When Britain was faced with the threat of invasion by Hitler’s forces,
Winston Churchill, who had “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and
sweat,” rallied the entire nation from slumbering in fear to valiant courage
and determination to defeat their enemy.
Never give in, never,
never, never. ..Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming
might of the enemy. ..Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and
famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and
all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall
go on to the end ..we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength
...whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight
on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which
I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated
and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the
British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time,
the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue
and the liberation of the old.
The power of Jesus’
When Jesus taught, he spoke with a power and authority unlike any other
human being. “No man ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46). He spoke the
words which his Father in heaven gave him to speak (John 7:16; 8:26-29).
When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well (recorded in the Gospel
of John, chapter 4), he spoke words of life to her. His words gave her
revelation of God as well as revelation of her own sinful condition and
her need for repentance and change of heart. Jesus revealed himself to
her as the Messiah and offered her the living water of the Holy
Spirit. She left her water jug at Jesus’ feet and immediately ran back
to the village to tell everyone about her discovery. The people followed
her back to the well so they could discover in person who Jesus was. John
tells us that many believed in Jesus because of his word (John 4:31). They
afterwards told the woman, “It is no longer because of your words
that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that
this is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
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see > Icon
of Christ from Mount Sinai
Schwager is a member of The
Servants of the Word and the author of the Daily
Scripture Reading and Meditation website.]
Jesus Christ the Word of Life
[click to see elarged
painting of Christ by Michael O'Brien was commissioned in the 1980s by
Mount Angel Benedictine Abbey, in Oregon, USA. The figure is based on the
oldest known icon of Christ, a sixth century Christ Pantocrator
in St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt.
on the original icon of Christ Pantocrator.