Vineyard Central E-pistle :: October 2005


Word. Spoken. Hear:

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth–all
you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of
nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky
blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the
watery abyss.

God spoke…. And there it was. God spoke…. And
there it was. God spoke…. And there it was. God
spoke…. And there it was. God spoke…. And there
it was. God spoke…. And there it was….”
Genesis 1: etc… (emphasis mine, obviously)

“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God
present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness
for God from day one…. The Word became flesh and
blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
John 1: selections (emphasis mine, again)

I’ve been quite struck of late about the Word. No,
not the Bible, though obviously that applies, but
about the power of a word. The ineffable character of
a spoken word. How awesome it is. How shaping it is.
A word can form life out of nothingness, hope from
despair, healing from brokenness.

This was driven home to me last week when I came home
from a breakfast meeting to find a very excited Cloey
chasing the cat. Cloey was having a blast and was
eager to show her “Dadda” how fast she could run after
the cat. The cat, consequently, was less than
thrilled. I gently cautioned her to give the cat some
space. I spoke maybe 2-3 words to that effect. But,
it was amazing to watch the shock and sadness spread
across her face. It broke my heart. My words were
simple. I didn’t yell, belittle, scold, our rebuke
her. I just wanted her to slow down a bit. But to
her heart it was a crushing blow. She was showing off
for her Dad and despite my best intentions she
interpreted my words as a punishment. Thankfully, she
recovered quickly and was back to cat-chasing shortly.
It has taken me longer to get over.

Obviously, I’m not critiquing my parenting skills as
much as I’m making a point – Words have power. They
change things. Don’t believe me? Go to a wedding.

A good size chunk of our community went to one lately.
Kim and Matthias were married on an otherwise
nondescript Sunday afternoon in September. A bunch of
people showed up at the appointed time in a building
on Calhoun in Clifton. We sang songs, we ate food
(thanks John & Co.), and words were spoken. Now I
reckon we could have all gotten together on an
appointed time, in a building, and done a lot of
similar things…. but oh, for the words!

That’s one of my favorite things about being a pastor.
Its the words I get to say. Words of baptism,
blessing, reconciliation, hope, and union. But it is
not a rite reserved solely for those called pastors,
leaders, priests, or clergy. It is a common rite that
we as the Community of Faith, the Body of Christ are
invited to participate in. We are amazingly welcomed
into the creating wording of God. In the second
account of creation God invites humanity to name the
creatures. We are co-creators with God.

And this is what I want us – Vineyard Central – to
remember. We are people of life-giving, co-creating,
faith-infusing, blessing-invoking, God-gifted Words.
Sometimes we speak disparagingly of our little
community, our families, and ourselves. Sometimes we
tell ourselves words of guilt, shame, fear, and
not-good-enough-ness. I hear these words among us all
the time, and they break my heart. Even more – they
break God’s heart.

Please, hear these words: God has planted us, our
community, in this place for such a time as this. We
are on God’s mission in Norwood, Cincinnati,
Fairfield, Lawrenceburg, Northside, St. Bernard,
Hamilton, and beyond. And this mission is born of the
very essence of our Triune God. The same God who
spoke the world into being speaks life into us today.
The same God who is WordmadeFlesh, that moved into
that 1st C. Jewish neighborhood called Bethlehem,
invites us to move (truly live) into our
neighborhoods, workplaces, and families now. We are
part of God’s Story. Let’s try to remember that.
Let’s speak those words to ourselves and one another.
I truly believe they have been imbued with the
Spirit’s power to create his Kingdom among us.

I am so excited and honored say that I am part of this
Community of Faith called Vineyard Central. I believe
in us – what God is calling us to do and making us to
be. I believe we are stronger than we know. I
believe we have Words of Life that others (and
ourselves) need to hear and I believe we have a Voice.

Let us speak. Let us listen. Let the Word be born in
us now.

In Grace,

PS – I’m off to Washington DC this weekend to the
Generous Orthodoxy Conference – I’m really
excited about spending time with Bob Bowen and
meeting/conversing with many smart people. I’ll be
blogging about it at and
podcasting mp3 excerpts at


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