A Word is Dead | Emily Dickinson & The Living Word

I think this is the way of life - words are dead until someone brings them to life for a dull mind. But a life that is awakened will find those same once dead words to be living.  Do we not all start with a dull mind?  We have this great need to be gently led into this awakening of our minds. A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

-Emily Dickinson

Six lines of rich, beautiful imagery that have been the spring board for multiple conversations in our home.

I am not a poet, nor a good observer or dissector of poetry. In fact, sometimes I struggle to even appreciate poetry.

So while this poem has inspired some thoughts … I don’t really know what I am doing. So excuse that.

The ideas presented in the poem took my mind to other places and contributed to rich conversations within our family.
I can discuss ideas. I struggle with literally translating. I think I am too uptight. But anyways.

As I read this poem I keep coming back to one simple word; perspective.

The boys and I have been reading through the delightful book Carry on, Mr. Bowditch and in it we are introduced to some rough crew men.
Tough men that are good at the hard, menial labor required on a ship at sea.
Mr. Bowditch determines to teach these men about navigation and these men are transformed.  Their minds become alive with ideas and the joy of life and it changes the very course of their life.

Words once dead.

Now,

Begins to live
That day

When the mind is awakened. 

I was touched deeply with the account of Mr. Bowditch. He took men that had very little to spur on their intellect – their minds – who chose to take out their fighting in physical form, and he transformed their very path by bringing words to life for them and giving them something to mentally ‘fight’ and challenge them.

I think this is the way of life – words are dead until someone brings them to life for a dull mind.
But a life that is awakened will find those same once dead words to be living.

Do we not all start with a dull mind?

We have this great need to be gently led into this awakening of our minds. To have revealed for us why we need to know, or what enjoyment can be had in, the unfolding of words.

But what of the word as a person?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

We see Christ as the Word and we see Christ today despised and rejected by men.

The Word of God as dead.

Foolishness to the world.

And yet.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

For those of us who know Christ as our Savior we know Him to be alive and powerful; revealing truth, and offering abundant life through our hope of eternal life.

The living Word.

And for those who know the Word to be living and life changing, we have been charged to share this life-giving message.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

Through our good works and the hope that we have in our risen Savior we reveal to others the power of the Word.

The Word Himself is powerful and sets life and death before each individual for themselves to choose.

A Word that is dead (to them, which will bring eternal death to them)

Or a Word that is alive – which will bring life everlasting to the praise and honor of God.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”  (Deuteronomy 30:19&20)

Perspective is an intriguing thing. It is from our own perspective we embrace the Word as living or as dead – as foolishness or power.
For those who have seen the magnificent saving power of the Word, what a privilege it is to come alongside others and awaken the minds of others to the sufficient power of Christ and the satisfaction we find in Him by our own testimony of how the very course of our life was changed when the Word became alive to us.

Because He alone satisfies and He alone is worthy of glory and honor.

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Jessica Lynette

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