Saying Stuff (about the Lord’s Supper)

This is the Lord’s Supper meditation I gave at Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada on Dec 2, 2012.

Sometimes people stand up in front of a group and just start saying stuff.

They just have a microphone, and an audience, and some ideas in their head, and they start talking. And you don’t know if the stuff they’re saying is accurate, or if they’re going to do anything about what they say, or if it has anything to do with what’s going on in real life. Take me, for instance. I’m supposed to be up here saying something about the Lord’s Supper. But who knows if the stuff I’m saying right now has anything to do with that? (It does, in fact: trust me. But it’ll take a couple of minutes to get there.)

There are plenty of things to worry about when a human being starts saying stuff. When we say stuff, we don’t always really mean it. There’s no necessary connection between the words that come out of our mouths and the condition of our heart. We may be telling the truth, but it’s also possible for us to lie.

Think of it! We can lie! This is the amazing thing that every kid discovers at some point. It occurs to them that they can use words to construct an alternative to the truth. Have you watched a child come up with this idea? “One thing is true, but I will say another thing. I will stay.. stuff.” What they stumble on is the fact that there’s an actual state of affairs, and they can use words to describe a different state of affairs, one that did not happen. This is an amazing discovery, one that we all made at some point. It’s as earth-shattering as the discovery that you can just steal things. One minute you’re in a world where most things are not yours, and in the next moment it occurs to you that you can take things secretly. Suddenly it’s a world full of free stuff, and only you know about it. Suddenly it’s a whole new world, a fallen world, the world all of us live in.

Another problem when people say stuff is that we don’t have to follow through. There’s no necessary connection between what we say and what we go on to do. Your actions can leave your words hanging. There doesn’t have to be follow-up on words, they can remain empty. This is a different sort of lie, a lack of faithfulness in which our actions leave our words hanging.

But our words don’t actually hang: they go away. Our words come flying out, bounce around the room for a while, and then they’re gone. They echo weakly, diminish, and then fade. We have to replace them with a constant stream of more words to fill up the places of the ones that are gone. That’s why some people talk so much. If I could speak perfectly, I would be done by now. I would already have said the right thing, and it would still be with us.

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