I have been reflecting on the power of language . . . again. Anyone who knows me will have heard me on this particular hobby horse before, perhaps more than you would like. However, I don’t really apologize for spending time helping us think about how language changes the way we think. Because it does.
The texts for this week have a remarkable phrase, “in every way you have been enriched in him” (1 Cor 1:5a). One of the remarkable things about this phrase is the use of a totalizing word, namely “every.” This word means (obviously) all, everything, all there is. Keep that in the back of your mind as a good use of totalizing language.
There is another totalizing word which I would suggest is, very often if not always, less useful; that word is “need.” We have come to substitute the word “need” for other, completely legitimate things, such as wants or desires. The difficulty, which I address in both sermons but from slightly different perspectives is when we wrongly make that substitution. We may find ourselves talking about how we as a church may need more people, we may need more money, or a different / better minister. The problem is that we don’t need those things, we want those things.
One of the very worst things our culture has done with us is helped us blur the line* between “want” and “need” to the point that we hear all sorts of things that are needed: another cup of coffee, a new garment, a new car; when what we really want is simply that, we want more coffee, different clothes, a new car.
So, it has been a demanding afternoon with lots of the running around that sometimes happens in any family and it is proving difficult for me to sum up what I said so maybe just listen to the sermons and let me know what you think.
Knox Presbyterian What more do we need?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian What more do we need?
* into virtual invisibility