Words words words or, brush up your Shakespeare


We had our Church Meeting last night.  As is our practice, Church Meeting begins with a service of Holy Communion and during it, I share some thoughts on a Bible passage.  Last night, I read some verses from Psalm 19.  As the reading reached the end, I said “I just have to read this verse because, it’s an important one to me”;

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalm 19 vs. 14)

Why did I say that verse was important to me?

I didn’t give any explanation at the time but, I have been reflecting on it over night

So, here goes…..

Words are important to me.  Yes, a conversation without words is impossible but, words are more than just sounds that come from our mouth.  They are part of communication, and we all know how important what we communicate and how we communicate can be.


Words carry with them incredible power

I can remember the first time that the English language took on a whole new depth to me.  I was about 14 or 15 and I was given an opportunity to go on a school trip to Stratford upon Avon and then a visit to the Shakespeare theatre to see “the Scottish play”.  I wanted to go, I have no idea why, I just wanted to be there.

My parents tried to dissuade me with comments about not being able to follow it, outdated, not being part of any course I was doing at school etc. etc.  Pester power won, in the end, and I got on the trip!

In all honesty, I didn’t understand every last word spoken.  I struggled, at some points, with the subtleties of the plot and the political significance of the story (written just after Guy Fawkes had tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament – which is what the “Porter” scene is all about).  But, what came over to me was the power of the language.  The power of the words

Those words in “The Scottish Play” had the power to move me to laughter, bring tears to my eyes, to scare me witless, to make me jump!  They had such an impact on me that, even to this day, I can still quote some of the lines I heard that night!

That night, I fell in love with the plays of Shakespeare and have had the privilege of sitting through and taking part in many of his works over the years.  (yes, I did am-dram and we were used by the BBC and Japanese breakfast TV as extras  – autographs are available!!!)

Although I wouldn’t claim to have the eloquence of Shakespeare I suppose, at one level, words are my “stock in trade”.  Words are important to me, as a preacher and pastor the words I use are significant in various situations that I find myself in.  I am aware that the words I use can bring consolation or desolation.  The words I use can also bring hope where hope is lost (my good friend Chris Duffett has written about this recently, and you can read about it here https://chrisduffett.com/2018/01/24/words-of-light-for-a-dark-day)

Often, as I sit to prepare the words that I will use in a service, act of worship, sermon I will pray;

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalm 19 vs. 14)

And as I prepare to deliver what my heart has been meditating on, I will pray those words again.

Thinking wider than my working life, what about my daily life are the words I use, bringing glory to God?  The Psalmist prays that the words he uses, will be pleasing to God.  I know, at times, I have used words that are less than pleasing to me, let alone God.  

The old phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but, names can never hurt me” is a lie.  Words can bring with them destruction, damage and pain.  In fact, many of us live still with the sound of cruel words, spoken to us in childhood, ringing in our ears. This is why I think the Psalmist doesn’t just speak about the words he uses in this verse, he also speaks about the intention behind those words.  The intention of our heart needs to be right before God. 

And so, as I reflected on this verse today, I have made the words of this Psalm, and the intention behind the words my prayer for this day.  What is your prayer for today?

One thought on “Words words words or, brush up your Shakespeare

  1. Shakespeare is in the bible

    Ps 49…..it’s a ‘where’s Wally!!!!’

    NKJ Only

    49 words from the start plus 49 words from the end. There he is will-I-am himself

    Isn’t that a bit doggy?

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