During our September 24th Worship Service, our brand-new Deacon, Kristi Harriman, stood in the pulpit as the newly ordained and installed Deacon of the Day. She did a stellar job! For the most part, though, she was reading words that I had written, and… I did not do a stellar job proofreading my own material. For the Call for the Offering, Kristi told the congregation about how BPC will be opening our doors to Weight Watchers – welcoming 300 people into our church building each week, who might not normally walk through our doors. We are excited about this new partnership! As Kristi led in worship, she read exactly what I had written:
“There might be some people who would be surprised that Weight Watchers would meet in our church building. But, if we are a congregation that envisions “a church, community, and world that are more loving, peaceful, and whole,” then the health and wholeness of the wider community and our partnership with Weight Watchers fits very well within this vision.”
Did you catch the mistake? In writing about Weight Watchers, I made reference to “the health and wholeness of the wider community. Weight Watchers. . . wider community. . .” Oh my! A loving member of the congregation (with a good sense of humor) pointed this word choice out to me and said that it might not have been the best word to use.
I want to own my mistake, even though it was entirely inadvertent, and I meant no harm or offense. Of course, in my mind, by using the word wider, I was referring to opening our church building to the community as a whole. But, sometimes, mistakes get made. The wrong word is chosen, or the wrong action is taken, and feelings get hurt. . . or worse!
Words have always had power – just look at the power that God gives human beings in Genesis, Chapter 2, when God tells humans to give names to every living thing. We do live in an age when words have particular power, for good or for ill. There is a risk to carelessly chosen words.
In envisioning a world that is more just, peaceful, and whole, it is my hope that I – and all people – will choose our words with care, being graciously guided by love. I also hope, though, that the words we speak will be received and responded to with as much grace as possible (especially when mistakes are made).
I’m off to proofread the text that I write for our Elder and Deacon of the day. . . 🙂
See you in church!
Grace and Peace,