Friday, September 28, 2012

Keep the Lid On

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Proper 21B
Psalm 19:14
Prop: A Jar of Glitter

Good morning, everyone!  I have something pretty to show you this morning.  It's an old-fashioned jar of glitter.  Isn't it pretty?  This is the kind of glitter people used before
there were glitter glue or glitter pens.  Let me pour a little in my hand, and you can see how much it sparkles in the light.  Look at that!  Glitter gives pictures you color and arts and crafts projects extra pizazz, doesn't it? 

With this glitter, you put plain white glue where you want the sparkles, sprinkle the glitter on the glue, then shake off the extra.  Even if you put newspaper on the table, with all the sprinkling and the shaking, the glitter gets everywhere--on your clothes, on the floor, sometimes even in your hair!  In fact, once you take this glitter out of the jar, it is impossible to get it all back into the jar again.  (Put glitter back in the jar.)  See that?  Some stuck to my hand and a little fell on the floor.  I'll have to vacuum that up later.

Words are a lot like glitter.  Once we say them, we cannot unsay them.  We cannot "put them back in the jar," as if they've never been said.  If we say something mean to another person, we can apologize.  We can say, "I'm sorry," or "I was only kidding."  We can try to make up for our unkind words by being extra nice to the person, but we can never unsay them.  Those unkind words may be remembered for a long, long time.

The Bible talks about how damaging our words can be, and how important it is to tame our tongues so that words that we will regret saying never get said at all.  For example, let's say you're in Sunday School, and the teacher asks a boy named Billy a question about the story, and Billy gives a wrong answer.  The first thought that pops into Suzie's mind may be, "That was a really stupid answer, Billy!"  Should Suzie say that out loud for Billy and everyone else to hear?  Is that an important thing for others to know--that Suzie thinks Billy's answer is stupid?  Is it helpful?  Is it kind?  No, no, no, right?  So that is one thought that should never be said out loud--it should be kept in the jar.

The Bible teaches us that not only our words, but our thoughts as well should all be acceptable to God.  This is a challenging idea--one that most of us work on our whole lives.

King David talks about this idea in one of the Psalms he wrote.  I'd like us to say that Psalm together as our prayer this morning.  Please repeat after me.

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock
and my redeemer.

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