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Though we have arrived in an era where talk is cheap and words are further cheapened by misuse, that there are words is a wonder of communication. “In the beginning,” the Bible starts, “God spoke,” and all that is – is the fruit of His creative impulse spoken into existence.

Now heading into Easter, I ponder this portion from Alan E. Lewis’s contemplation of what he calls our Easter Saturday existence, to consider the place of words, and in particular, to consider the Word made flesh – Jesus, speaks into our lives.

Audacious Speech and Suffering Silence

Audacious speech as well as suffering silence is the calling of the Easter Saturday community; for… the one whom by Easter Saturday the world had silenced and liquidated was none other than the Word of God, the enfleshment of the creative fiat which gives life to the dead and calls forth existence out of nothingness.  Out of the awful, atheistic silence of the first Easter Saturday there burst forth God’s death-defeating word of resurrection joy and victory. The terminal hush of unanswered questions and sepulchral speechlessness became the ultimate word-event, the rebirth of language in its triumphal and liberating truthfulness. The burial ground of God’s incarnate, silenced Word is also, therefore, the cradle of the gospel, that “word of the cross” which challenges and judges but also creates and reconciles.

… the whispers of resilient language could still be heard and has since become a torrent of words, speech of harrowed memory but not without defiant hope…

To be sure, nothing might seem less promising, more anachronistic or inept than words as an instrument of social restoration, the renewal and redemption of community among us. Language itself… is in an Easter Saturday crisis of negation, become the weapon of nihilists who use words to deconstruct the very reality and meaning words convey, perversely articulating the triumph of in-articulation, fulsomely and noisily announcing our cultural hollowness and silence.

… we seem overwhelmed by lexical torrents of distortion, rhetoric, and propaganda, yet starved for words – and speakers – that are trustworthy, truth bearing, and humanizing, reduced to phantom, visual diet of images, photo opportunities, and the cheap illusions… on which the younger generation now unnourishingly feeds…

Through the humanizing relationality of words, the church may hope simultaneously to protest and to heal the narcissistic individualism of our culture…

Unless we have the audacity… to tell the story of the cross and grave, rehearsing God’s mighty acts of human powerlessness, the history of the Trinity’s own way through flesh and death and nothingness to final consumption and liberation of the universe – how shall the church confront the despairing loss of [this] generation?

Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday

The Humanizing Relationality of God’s Intent

May we carry the humanizing relationality of words – especially the Word of God in the person of Christ – to this world bereft of truth bearing.

May we regain a holy memory of the humanizing impulse of Christ against the dehumanizing erosion of today.

For we are never more human than when we are more in Christ; we are never more humane than when we are more like Christ.

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