and the flesh became words (people of the word)

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. – John 1:14-16

Today I’d like to talk about an idea that emerged from worship yesterday morning at WFPC, and then fine-tuned itself during discussion in my adult discipleship class. It was – it is – an exercise in “grace and truth.”

IMG_3571Here’s The Background: Rebekah preached on “The Living Word,” communicating her message in a unique and compelling format. She spoke for just five-six minutes, then presented the balance of her sermon via a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation. The slideshow – which took her around three weeks to create – comprised several hundred carefully crafted slides, and was accompanied by live music – a medley of hymns by our excellent keyboardists.

The key feature of the slides was the collection of words generated by our congregation in response to the following question. “In just three words, what does Wake Forest Presbyterian Church mean to you?” The response was creative, thoughtful, insightful, and deeply spiritual.

People responded to the challenge as individuals, as family units, as small-groups, and as ministry areas. All ages were represented and – inconsequence – some of the words (for example, “this church is boss”, “WFPC is swag”, and “b.a.e.”) had to come along with “translations.”

Interestingly, the sheer volume of the words, and the way they were presented, elicited a profound emotional response at both services of worship. In a way (and as “The Word became flesh” in Jesus), here at WFPC the flesh became words…

…The flesh became words as the heart, soul, faith, spirit, love, experiences, emotions, beliefs, trust, identity, joy, and so much more was all reflected back at the good, faithful, Christ-centered disciples who comprise our growing church family.

If you want to see the slideshow, I’ve embedded it below my signature at the end of this post.

WFPCWordCloudWord-Cloud: The final slide was a word-cloud, generated from a few of the most frequently occurring words from the hundreds of cards that were turned in.

The word-cloud slide was a talked-about item in my discipleship class, and so I posed this simple question/challenge/thought: “If every word we uttered during this coming week was fed into a hopper, which then spit out a word-cloud graphic you could bring to share next Sunday, I wonder what your word-cloud would look like?”

What words would stand out, large and bold? What words would be missing? What if we could/would cultivate a deliberate vocabulary of grace? What would the word-cloud say about our lives as disciples of Jesus?

love my new scarf!

These are all good questions. I pray that we will all enter this week committed to being “People of the Word.”

– DEREK

If you have the time, here’s the slideshow:

  1. Some of the formatting changed in translation, and is not as smooth Rebekah’s original…
  2. “Self-advance” works better than autoplay. Click on the forward arrows to move it along at your owns speed.
  3. Provide your own soundtrack, or just hum along!

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