Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Magic Words

When I was a kid, there was a program on television called -- well, I can't remember what it was called, but it featured a host (who was the WeatherMan in his spare time) named Mr. Cartoon (He's on Wikipedia -- who knew!?). Mr. Cartoon always asked the audience of children to repeat the "magic words" - please, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me. I still remember them!

At Rotary the other day, Bishop William Boyd Grove (who is not on Wikipedia -- what does that say about us?), told me that he believed faith was built on three phrases -- I'm sorry, Thank you and Please.

Think about it. That translates to confession, adoration and supplication -- three big components of our prayers.

I think that not only do those words shape our faith, but they have a lot to do with our relationships:
  • I'm sorry: It's a custom, when one goes on a trip, to bring a souvenir back for your loved ones. I always wondered about that, and hypothesized the custom was born of a need to return to relationship. I've been gone, but I'm back, and here is a gift so that you will remember me, and that I love you. When I have hurt someone, and created an obstacle in a relationship, the words "I'm sorry" are meant to bridge that obstacle. It helps two people return to the relationship -- to heal it. I know when I hear the words from someone, they sooth the hurt. If someone is sorry that I have been hurt, then I know they regret the hurt, even if the action was necessary. "I'm sorry" are important words.
  • Please: The word Please is truly magic. It creates a willingness to help. Someone who says "please" is recognizing the grace that is being asked for -- is recognizing the fact that the service requested is grace, not obligation.
  • Thank you: For me, the words "thank you" are affirmation. They say to me that the work I have done, the service I have offered, the love expressed is truly grace to the other person. I need to know that. I need to know the action offered is grace.
Is it any wonder that those are also the words of faith? Words that attempt to restore relationship and recognize grace?

Image: Biltmore at night with Christmas decorations.



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