Words of Freedom

His name was Phil and he attended a downtown, storefront church of Pentecostal persuasion. Obviously unemployed and on disability. He had the strangest speech impediment. You would anticipate a word that he intended, but he could not get it out. He would then surround his thought with clue words that seemed like approaching his target from the other side.

The room would be silent and respectful as he struggled. This in itself was a lesson in patience, sensitivity and empathy. Many of the others were disadvantaged as well.

But a surprising transformation would occur. Just give Phil a passage of scripture to read or a praise chorus to sing, and he would happily sail through without a hitch. This made his experience in the means of grace doubly satisfying. His smile was captivating.

I often wonder whether most of our secular conversation “in the advertised standard” is just so much nonsense, and our words of redeeming, compassionate or Gospel import the only sensible ones.

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