What has happened to our ability to write, to read, to appreciate the beauty and mystery of words?
In Eugene Peterson’s book Answering God, he discusses three forms of language — language that informs, language that moves to action, and language that expresses love. In our increased hastiness and pressure to be productive, we’ve increased our facility with informing and motivating/manipulating language while using language less and less to express love.
Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson is a wonderful language lover and Inklings scholar, having immersed herself deeply over a lifetime in the words of George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. So, I take her words in the accompanying post as a wake up call. For if we humiliate the words we use by paying little attention to them, we just might become contemptuous of the Word made flesh.
You can find her excellent post here: https://everydaytheology.life/2016/03/24/deliver-us-from-atrophy/
My father gave me this page when I was about twelve. It is from a Lady’s Prayer Book, used for devotional reading, and was crafted in France sometime between 1390-1420 AD. This particular section of the text is a exposition of the petition “Libera nos ad malo” (‘Deliver us from evil’), from the Matt. 6:9ff version of the Lord’s Prayer in the VG (Pater noster). Through my childhood it hung on the wall above my bed, where I could look at it while resting. I brought it with me to college and university, and it now hangs in our home, in our living room.
As a child I would ponder the beauty of this written text, and how the actual scripting of words is (or can be) both an art and a discipline. To think that people hand-wrote out the entire texts of books! How they must have valued these treasures: the hours and…
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