We have a book indoors. It has beautiful illustrations and imaginative words.
It is called The Lost Words and is written to remind our children and ourselves of all the words in nature that we are in danger of not passing on to the next generation. Words that are in danger of being removed from the dictionary because not enough people are using them any more.
Words that lose their meaning. Words that are in danger of dying out.
And it made me think of the words that I worry are dying out now because of the images we see on the news and the stories that get passed around on social media. Words like humility and self-sacrifice and generosity and gentleness and forgiveness.
These words are as ancient as the Bible yet where do we see the humility in our world: to be humble, to consider others as just as important if not more so than ourselves. To consider what others need before we think of our own.
And gentleness when we see violence and trauma spread across our streets and screens, where do we that growing in our communities?
As we have seen lockdown at our weakest, we have seen glimmers of generosity and self-sacrifice. We have seen folks shopping for their unknown elderly neighbours, we have seen people dropping food and sweets on the doorsteps of families who are struggling. Food Parcels for those in need – not government provided but community given. We’ve seen people lend cars to strangers, offer rooms to workers, meals to key staff, care for the carers.
But as lockdown unlocks, will we see that dwindle? Are we in danger of that kindness dying out? Losing its meaning?
As we see communities striving to return, will we hear words of forgiveness for the months we have been apart?
Will we see families and friends reunited, wiping away the sadness of time spent apart?
Will we hear words of humility from those with the power to seek forgiveness as we seek to rebuild a better future?
Will we be generous in our understanding and in our kindness?
Jesus said that He had not come to change the past but to build a future, a new covenant. He came not to condemn the world but to save it.
He also taught us that nothing will change until everything changes. He told us that the old temples need to be taken down before new ones can be built.
So maybe our temples to blame and division and punishment and superiority must fall before new temples can be built.
And so today I choose to build with stones of forgiveness, humility, goodness, generosity and compassion this day.
And remind myself that unless the Lord builds, our labours will be in vain and with the God’s help we will build a better place.
So what are the words that you will use again so that they will not die out?
And what are the characteristics you will bring alive this brand new week to show that goodness and kindness are still being shown?
And how are we to teach our communities, our neighbourhoods and families the things that matter and the love that lasts?
As you walk into this week, May you feel God going with you. Amen.