Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
I was in 4th grade when I had to memorize Ephesians 4:29. The King James version was required so phrases like “corrupt communication” and “to use of edifying” seem to add emphasis, but there’s no escaping this injunction even in a modern translation– your words are dangerous. And you’re responsible to not only to curb your tongue, but to use it for good.
The current verse is on my mind this week, in part because it was text being used for a sermon series Church of the Resurrection is doing this month. IZ and I are between churches (long story, a different post perhaps??) and so we tune in online on Sunday mornings as a way of staying connected before we start the church hunt in September.
This week’s sermon challenged us to do just that: stop and think. To stand with those who have no voice. And to use our words for good.
That latter challenge isn’t an easy task, as we live in a world where words fly. We blog, text, Facebook, tweet… talk, talk, talk and I wonder how often we ask ourselves, “is this helpful?” Long gone are the days where it is impolite to talk about oneself — today we are encouraged to delve deeply into our backstories and histories, our psyches and our impulses and put it all out there. For everyone to see. In triplicate.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t talking about blogging. Or texting or tweeting. His world wasn’t populated by people glued to their cell phones. What he did know, was human nature. Our modes of communication have changed, but humanity hasn’t. If good old Paul was around today I think he’d still admonish us to watch our words… he’d just be clarifying what he means by “out of your mouth…”
I’m not sure that’s a bad thing — all this freedom of expression. But I am certain of one thing, it is increasingly easy to completely disregard the other in our attempt to see ourselves. I’m certainly guilty of it. And while we may overthink our correspondence, or the blogs we write, we may not be asking the right question of the words we write. Not every post is necessary. Not every post is helpful. Not every post is going help build others up.
But there is good news! There are ways to avoid the inevitable. Ways to curb our tongues while still speaking our truths. We can choose to build others up or tear them down. It’s a choice, these words we speak. Will we choose well?
Note to self: Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. Ecclesiastes 10:12
It’s like Where’s Waldo. Except I’m on the page over and over and over…
Today in worship, we had an intergenerational service. So, my kids were up front at craft tables for the whole event. Their job today was to draw portraits. One self portrait and then pictures of other people in the church. Geo created a great poster with all their pieces that our congregation then used as part of our community prayer time.
They did an amazing job! I just snapped this photo in very poor light this afternoon. I should go back and grab better pictures: because they did such a lovely job creating their self portraits and drawing members of the congregation.
But, sometimes I forget things. And in the process of leading the service today ( a service that was going to run WAY OVER!), I completely forgot to suggest that they not ALL draw portraits of me.
Um, yeah, so according to our poster there are at least 6 people named Wende in our church. Though, none of them look alike!
It’s was really sweet — and touching to see my reflection from so many different hands and my name spelled so many different ways! This usually happens with the littles: all the little kids want to give something to the teacher. But I was shocked to see my teenagers had also made a big deal of putting up my picture. (tho, I’m not completely certain about their motivations: teenagers, you can never tell.)
There were also duplicates of several parents: and one “family portrait” drawn by a middle schooler who omitted her older sister and younger brother. After church when I said, “Um, you seem to be missing siblings,” she gleefully said, “I KNOW!”
I’m kicking myself for having us glue these things onto paper. So, I’m going to have to find a new way of doing this project again so we can make presents for our parents. Maybe next Christmas?
I’m wiped out. But in the best way possible. I spent most of the day in ministry with the kids of our church. Sunday School, an after church event, and Youth Group. There are LOTS of photos of our day over on our Facebook page: but I wanted to post these photos of our after church project.
Our church likes to hold its Church Council meetings once a month on Sunday’s after the service. I’m not a fan. For so many reasons, but a big one being that our kids are left to their own devices while this meeting goes on. Parents who attend have to pop in and out to check on their children — which can be frustrating. So, I decided I’d do something about that this month. We had so much fun today, I think I’ll keep doing something about it until our Church catches on that maybe council meetings might be something we do on another day.
Only a few kids stayed, but we had a quick Easter Egg hunt in our Sunday School classroom. In the eggs, I had hidden a puzzle (along with a wee bit of candy) explaining our project: to build towers as tall as we could with marshmallows and toothpicks.
So much fun. So much sticky fun! The meeting ended after about 40 minutes and my kids were still hard at work–we stayed as long as we could and when it was time to go, I asked Geo, “Are you done?” and he said, “Oh, Mom, I don’t think I’ll ever be finished!”
I gave a bag of mini marshmallows and a box of 250 toothpicks to each team. When we do it again, I’ll provide more toothpicks! Learning curve. 😀 But otherwise, we had so much fun.
My favorite line of the day came from the 9 year old in the room, on the “men” team. (His designation — We’re young men) “Men don’t eat marshmallows, they build with them.” And then 10 minutes later I caught him popping marshmallows on the sly. “These are the first three, I swear.” Ha!
So now you know. In case you were wondering what men do with marshmallows.
None this has a bit to do with Jesus. But my son said something pretty amazing to me on the way to youth group tonight, he said, “You know mom, just creating a safe space where kids can be together is sacred.”
Check out all our fun on Facebook, and do this very tired Youth Minister a favor: Like our page?! Thanks so much.
Sometimes, I spin the Youth Minister plate… HARD! (And of course, that means poor IZ spins along with me.) After too many hours and nearly a year of work, it’s official: we have a ping-pong table in the room and we’re painted. And now, I need to stop. Seriously, I’ve been saying it’s “done” for 2 weeks now and keep finding more things to do.
This is our meeting room: where we share our highs and lows. Eventually, I want to get those chairs covered and add some squishy bean bags.
Looks like I might need to work on the blackboard a bit. You have to prime it with white chalk before using it: and I ran out so I faked it. But new chalk arrived today, so a little touch up is order. (plus, it’s not the best wall, but I’m hoping the lights IZ so graciously put up for us will help!)
Yeah, totally stole this from Pinterest. The walls in the room are so wild. Apparently, at one point a good 20+ years ago someone wall-papered with newsprint!
The floor is a bit slippery and not level, so I taped down our rugs with bright orange Duck tape.
This is the Game Room side. Our room can be divided by accordion doors, but we never do it. However, I thought it was a good idea to do each side a bit differently.
A huge shout-out to the lovely IZ for disassembling the ping pong table and putting it back together. We’re missing a net, but it’s a great table that someone gifted us!
Also pilfered this idea from Pinterest. I used washi tape to make plus signs on the wall. Um. Work. This is a little loft the kids love to sit in and I felt like it needed something “extra”. Again, eventually I’d like new bean bags in grey. I’m planning on doing a “post it prayer” wall on the right hand wall. So, we’ll have a bit more color eventually! I don’t think the ball game thing will stay.
Another chalkboard wall and a bit of colorful Scripture for the room!
I cannot wait for the kids to get to use this on Sunday. Space is everything, no? And considering we did this on such a shoe string budget, I think the room turned out!
And so that you have some idea of what it looked like before, here is a before photo (under the fold, because MEH)