By Bishop James Tengatenga
Yesterday it was “no haggis” and “no uwende” (This is a special dish [perk!] of blood, belly fat and some organs that those who slaughter animals, in some of our cultures, boil and eat while they skin and quarter the carcass) and today the list has grown long! What’s with food anyway? All over the world there are all sorts of prohibitions of one food or another. Delicacies in one part of the world make some on the other side of the globe want to puke! Whole foods, organic foods, GMO, vegetarian, vegan … and the list goes on! We seem to be obsessed with foods and the kinds of food we eat. Well-being and wholeness and (dare I think it) holiness are closely connected. God cares about what we stuff ourselves with. It seems Jesus comes along and says that that is not the case! As is often the case Jesus, in Mark 7, raises the stakes. It’s not just the food or what we stuff ourselves with that matters. In fact, (notwithstanding) in the scale of things, it’s neither here nor there. It is what comes out of us that matters: it’s what you harbor in your mind and heart, what you say. Words people use say a lot about them. “Killing me softly with his words…” one popular songs says. Language (words) is a big deal in our age to the degree that sometimes we go over board and prize political correctness above all else. We can either build people or destroy them by our words. God created through the spoken word; Jesus is the Word Incarnate. I suppose it is time to mind my Ps and Qs!
Search through the Bible for the use of the words “word or words”, “speech” and find out what they mean and how they are used. It may also be helpful to look for “curse”, “blessing” and even concept of naming.
Apart from Hate Speech in what way do words dehumanize people?
Only say a word, Oh Lord and I shall be healed! Amen
Oh Incarnate Word grant by your gracious Spirit that I may speak a blessing to all I meet today and always so that I may please you and in the life to come enter into your kingdom where you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign forever. Amen.
Bishop James Tengatenga is the Bishop of Southern Malawi