The tongue is a small member yet it boasts of great exploits.
Always a good stand-by at school assemblies, the letter of James reminds us of the importance of communication – the God-given power of being able to speak.
How much is lost when that power is not there: I think of a friend’s autistic daughter who has never been able to express herself in words or the stroke victim’s struggle to make him or herself understood.
Yet, most of us can speak – and write – and how we use our ability is up to us. Words can hurt; again James makes that clear when he writes of the tongue as ‘ a restless evil, full of deadly poison’ but ‘with it we bless the Lord and Father’ for words can also be used to for good – to comfort, encourage, support, share….
Over the last few months when face to face communication has often been difficult, even impossible, the telephone has gained a new importance. It is lovely to be in church, to chat with others on Zoom, but we are well aware that not all can partake in these activities. Now, as the weather deteriorates, the evenings grow darker, we realise we approach a difficult winter when many might feel isolated and in need of that human contact.
So, let us use our words, not only to pray for those around us, but through our voices to brighten up a day for someone, remembering, as the first letter of St Peter tells us:
‘Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God.’
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen