I live for a good word or phrase. I love it when I’m reading a book, journal or newspaper and a word or phrase jumps out at me and completely captures or distills a situation or truth. In an article today about some Cistercian monks in Vina, California who are restoring a 12th century Spanish monastery purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1930, disassembled and shipped to San Francisco and then abandoned till recently, there is a powerful phrase about prayer that jumped out at me. “Our architecture was considered a part of our prayer…and still is.”
That’s a powerful statement, linking architecture to prayer. It made me reflect on my prayer life and how much my surroundings help or hinder my time with God. It made me grateful for the beautiful sanctuary we are privileged to worship in Sunday after Sunday. It made me mindful of the double challenge of neither neglecting nor worshiping a space itself. All this because of a phrase in a morning newspaper.
We remember words! We remember the good words that encourage us, bless us, and take us into new areas. And we remember the words that wound us, diminish us and dismiss us. In the clutter of our emails and social media, how many times have we gotten ourselves into trouble with one word misread, misprinted or improperly used?
As you prepare for worship on Sunday, go read Luke 3:21-22 and check out the words Jesus heard and remembered his entire life on earth. What did those words do to him? How did those words affect his relationship with his disciples? What do those words mean to us today?