A little late this week as I have been away since Sunday on a conference, but here at last is what I said last Sunday.
On the wall of my vestry, amidst all the untideness and clutter typical of churchy vestries, hangs an icon. It is an icon of Saint John the Evangelist. And one thing that you will always see in an icon of Saint John is a book that he holds in his hands. Usually the book will be open – in our icon it is nearly closed. But if you look closely you can just make out enough of the words written in the book to recognise – if you can read Greek – the opening words of Saint John’s Gospel. The opening words of his Gospel are such powerful words – words that still, down the centuries, resonate – even though they may not be immediately understandable. John knew how powerful words could be.
I can still remember many of the playground rhymes and chants that I used as a child – I’m sure many of you can remember those you used as well. One of them, which I think was more or less universal, was “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Even at the time I thought it was a suspect saying. Continue reading