October 2017

Oh dear, what can I say? How often have we thought that or heard that said when we’ve been told something sad, bad or worrying news? Words often fail us and we almost go into a panic mode in case we have to say something before we’ve thought it through. Maybe the facts that words fail to come out is a safety mechanism to stop us blurting out the first thoughts that come into our heads. Maybe it allows us to stop and think and to reflect on what we are actually thinking and about to say. On the other hand the first words are often the honest words even if not the best to use in the situation. A preacher at a service may often feel that faced with giving a talk finds themselves with an empty mind. Nothing seems to be coming along to say. We offer a prayer for divine inspiration and still the mind is blank. We use the ‘insurance policy’ in the prayer that precedes the sermon to ask God to bless that which is about to be spoken, that it may come from Him and that the listeners may only hear what God is saying to them. Is this a cop out for the emptiness of the preachers mind as the sermon is prepared and delivered or a real pray of acknowledgement that God is indeed speaking to all concerned?

So it is that I sit with the computer in front of me thinking what can I say in this letter. The offering of ‘nothing’ springs so quickly to mind yet if I did that then maybe you might think that it is really time he retired.   Yet the truth is that I have so much in my mind at present I actually can’t put my thoughts into any coherent order or a focused article. Perhaps it’s better to stop right here and to be honest and to hope that a ‘blank’ mind resonates with the experience of the readers – there you see I’m passing the buck onto the readers to make sense of what I cannot express!

So as I close I offer you the words of my mother when opening a present I had given her one Christmas. It was so obvious from her expression on her face that words had failed her until with a sigh she said to me ‘What is it? Perhaps we ought to sit and reflect at times rather than be forever rushing and worrying about what to say and how to say it for our bodies and actions often speak louder than words. As Paul writes ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.’ (1 Corinthians 13 v 1)