Musings from the Manse: Summer 2011
Anyone who has email communication will surely receive some that just make you stop and think.
I received one such email recently which had a link to a YouTube film clip – and if you are able perhaps you’d like to watch it too.
In case you can’t, this short film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world. It was made by an online marketing company, but through the power of YouTube, it has received over seven and a half million hits.
It portrays a man sitting on the ground in front of the steps of a large building in a busy city, begging. He has a small sign which reads, ‘I’M BLIND, PLEASE HELP’.
Some of the passers-by throw a few coins in the direction of his tin. Then a young woman comes along, she stops, picks up his sign, turns it over and writes something on the back. As she is writing, the man touches her shoes; I suppose in order to get an idea of who this person was. She then replaces the sign next to the man and continues on her way.
During the course of the day, many more people pass by, but now the number people who stop and amount of coins they give has grown considerably. The young woman then returns at the end of the day and stops in front of the man – he recognises her by her shoes and asks, ‘What did you do to my sign’. She replies, ‘I wrote the same, but different words’.
What did she write? – ‘IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND I CAN’T SEE IT’.
What a difference the right words can make!
When you read this, Pentecost will be just around the corner and the most amazing thing about Pentecost, and probably what we remember the most, is that the disciples were able to speak in words which everyone could understand – no matter where they came from.
Understanding Peter’s words was key to the whole message he was trying to get across – namely that the Old Testament prophecies had been entirely fulfilled in Jesus. He was the Messiah, the risen Christ, and could totally change their lives.
That message and those words are still central to everything that we do and say in our Christian lives today, but we must not forget the catalyst which enabled the disciples to make themselves understood. It was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that made the difference to how that message was received; and whether we call it ‘the enabler’, ‘the comforter’, ‘the breath’ or ‘the wind’ of God, it is a vital component of all effective Christian communication.
Our task is to spread the good news of redemption and resurrection to all who will listen – and we do that with our words and by our actions; with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus calls each one of us to live as Easter people – to inspire, encourage, and inform those we meet on the road of life – and if we’re worried about not having the right words to say; let the Spirit put the right words into your mouth, because they will always be just the ones you need.
Yours in Christ,