Words are powerful. They can inspire and shape us to be more than we thought we were capable of being. Sometimes they come like a wave and overwhelm us. At other moments they are like pieces of a puzzle, scattered across the table of time.
When I went to divinity school, I had no intention of becoming a minister. All I knew was that God was calling me to go to divinity school; the rest God was going to have to show me, as long as it didn’t include working in a church. And definitely not in a Baptist church.
Because I began my graduate studies part time, I often registered for whatever class was available, even if that meant taking an elective before the core course that was designed to precede it. I felt like a fish out of water, not knowing my exegesis from my ecclesiology, wondering what I was doing in this place with all of these students who clearly understood their call. Until I read the words scribbled at the bottom of an assignment, thanking me for an insight that had met a need in the professor’s own life.
“I look forward to your future ministry,” he wrote. I didn’t know I had a future ministry. But I treasured those words and pondered them in my heart. Eventually they led me to, you guessed it, a ministry position in a Baptist church.
God sometimes speaks through a choir of angels with unmistakable glory. But most often, God’s words come to us a few at a time, through the people God puts in our path. Our soul work is to treasure them as they come, and ponder them in our heart until the Author reveals the fullness of God’s story in us.
This Christmas Eve, as the Word is becoming flesh in the world once again, what word does God want you to know about yourself? How does God want to be born in you today?
God, help us to both hear the words that are your gifts for us to treasure, and to speak the words that are your gifts for us to give. Amen.