Jesus came to us as the Word. I find that provocative. Why the Word? Clearly Jesus was a human and yet Jesus is frequently referred to as the Word. Not the notion. Not the idea. Not the initiative. The Word.
The identification of Jesus as the Word has huge implication for us when we use words. It means that God communicated and communicates to us as Jesus both in terms of the spoken word and as the written word which emerges from having written down what was said and done – an act we call scriptures. And God speaks creation into being with words in the Genesis myths.
I once referred to “scripture” (meaning The Bible) in a document and the Dean suggested that I refer not to “scripture,” but to “scriptures.” He reminded me that the canon is not closed simply to our Bible; but that there are many other scriptures (stories about the relationship between God and humanity) both written and human. The helpful conversation ended my referring to scripture, in the singular, ever again. And my friend Mike, who manages many of the words in our cathedral, is always such a fine example to me of the kind of person I want to be. Humans are a form of word. And that is what friends do. They inspire. And the word “inspire” comes form a root word which means the communication of the Holy Spirit -which emerged from Jesus as breath – an essential element to the spoken word.
And our scriptures in the Bible have so many letters in them.
When I graduated from Seminary, my mother gave me this letter folder. My father gave me a fountain pen and they both sat me down and explained that they hoped I would one day write (my father was a writer) and that I would enjoy a life full of friends and that the intersection of those two vocations was letters. Jesus was God’s letter. The crucifixion was humanity’s letter back to God. The resurrection was God’s closing letter on the subject of relationship.
Today is my Sabbath Day and it has been and will be filed with writing letters, by hand, in ink, on cotton paper. My Rule of Life reminded me earlier this week that letter-writing is a gift; and an act of great self-offering, if perhaps anachronistic.
So today, after this letter on my computer and one other, I am writing to my friends to tell them I love them and am devoted to them and want relationship with them. And in that way, I suppose, I can see that we are indeed made in God’s image.