Saturday, September 29, 2012
Powerful, Loving Words to Wide-Eyed Boys
Last night DPC hosted a Father / Son Camp In (grammar school sons)... and it was awesome.
The fun started with a punishing game of dodgeball (or as one of my sons calls it, "hitball") in which the DadTeam clobbered the SonTeam. Perhaps clobber is too tame a word. How about shellac? Or slam? Or thrash?
Actually many a dad got pummeled as well. And I got blasted in the back of the head by friendly fire. But David Mulligan would probably prefer I not mention that. So I won't.
Then we turned our studied attention to the more refined sport of kickball. The DadTeam nobly and magnanimously decided to use our "weak" legs. Yet, even with this crippling handicap, we somehow managed to stay in the game which proved to be a suspense-filled match, finally decided by one lonely point. It was a close shave. But in the end those who could shave were triumphant. Barely.
Of course, all of this manly violence leaves one hungry. Therefore, pizza.
Some fun indoor games followed the pizza, and then the fire pits were lit up. After several giant marshmallows were subjected to cruel abuse, the dads took turns bringing their sons up to the fire and giving each one of them (in front of all the other dads and sons) some words of affirmation and love -- words that each dad had thoughtfully prepared beforehand, with each individual son in mind.
That was the highlight of the evening for me. Each dad did a marvelous job of building up his son. Proverbs 25 says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Words fitly spoken are nourishing words, beautifully presented.
Words are potent, powerful things. They can heal, they can destroy. On God's lips, words can literally create -- with a big C. And on the lips of those made in God's image, they can also create -- with a little c. They can positively create or negatively create.
Do we have any idea what words are? They are these commanding, authoritative instruments that we all freely use everyday, either to build up or to tear down... either to restore or to bring low... either to bind together or to divide.
Around the fire pits last night these gentle-but-powerful words were creating awesome things. These were words of love, tenderness, encouragement, celebration, faith, and hope given to wide-eyed boys who will surely remember those words forever.
Proverbs 15.4 tells us that gentle words are like a tree of life, while perverse words will break a spirit.
Proverbs 16.24 tells us that our grace-filled words are like a honeycomb, bringing sweetness to the soul and health to the body. But James 3.5&6 warns us that our careless words are like the fires of hell, burning and destroying and staining.
May Paul's exhortation to the Ephesians be our prayer: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." And may we pray that prayer often, in the name of the one who is himself the Powerful, Saving, Incarnate Word of God.
Praise be to our God for what those boys heard from the lips of their fathers last night. May they hear much more of it.