2 Reasons to Spell God with a Capital Letter
One summer, my husband encouraged me to go to Germany with a friend. Immediately teasing that he was trying to get rid of me, I took him up on this idea! This particular girlfriend, Linda, was married to his colleague. And we both wanted to beef up our communication skills their mother tongue.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the culture while there. But the fact that I did NOT return speaking fluent German is not relevant here. Words in Spanish, no !problema! German? Not really.
What I want to talk about is another word.
Don't worry, I'll explain. *wink*
It was in Munich that we met Elfi. She was a young working woman who played the piano and loved to meet new people. She was also a profound thinker, although it was sometimes difficult to see that fact since she was getting used to more fluent English ... I mean, it was challenging to explain herself. (and I get that!)
Elfi really wanted to read to learn new vocabulary. Unlike myself with German, I'll bet she's fluent in English now.
One afternoon, we read from "World and Press" (a newspaper some gals at a coffee shop had introduced me to). Elfi and I chose an article and worked through the more challenging vocabulary. She likes having something somewhat bilingual so that she can learn new words, phrases, and idioms. I showed her the bilingual bible I had borrowed, and she wanted to try it, so we read from the book of John because like her, he is pretty easy to understand, though also philosophical.
Elfi read first in English, picking out difficult vocabulary words about which to ask questions. Then she brilliantly thought of reading German and translating it into English in her own words. Here is the German:
Who is God in the Bible? Here is the answer. And here is John 1:1-2, read carefully by ELFI:
"Before the world was created, Word already existed - with God and the same as God. From beginning of all that is, this the Word was God. Because him God made all that is life. The light brights in the darkness, and the darkness cannot touch this light."
This translation brought out a fascinating discussion, tears to my eyes, and two thoughts I want to bring to you today.
The written word is what we look at and read to understand language and communication. The 'Word with a capital' is what we look at to understand God.
English speakrs capitalize nouns that are important. The word "word" in English is capitalized by the English translators when referring to Jesus. One reason is that we English-speakers do not capitalize every single one of our nouns. But Germans do. Like I said -- every last one of them. So it is exciting that the word "Word" would be capitalized in English.
As Elfi is fascinated by word history, our English chat had an exciting theme (since I share that love). Nouns are the substance of a sentence. They give you the reason FOR the sentence. Without nouns, ya get nada. Without grammar, your nouns don't always make a whole lot of sense. The Greek word for "word" is 'logos', and it has a fascinating history. The written word on a page is different than "the Word with a capital", as she called it.
But about that "nada" ...
John referred to Jesus as the Word because of what Jesus was trying to communicate – a way to "get" God.
No one can understand God, and he is a fool who says he does.
But I "get" Jesus.
Just like nouns in grammar, God is the substance of life. He gives us the reason to exist. Without God, ya get nada. Without Jesus, God doesn't always make a whole lot of sense. But this Word (Jesus) shined in the darkness and put a new light on the way to "get" God.
If your heart has been aching for something more and this moving force that dwells amoung us is it, I dare you to put your foot in the river. Join His mission and change the world.
The phrase means to some that God is the moving force amoung us. The logos is explained (in grammar) as now and ongoing, like the river. And John says this same The Logos (The Word) is the ultimate source of the light too.
If your heart has been aching for something more and this moving force that dwells amoung us is it, I dare you to put your foot in the river. Hold His hand, step on in, Hand change the world.
Good reason to have a capital letter.
Good reason to step into the river.
Elfi thought so too.
How about you? ;)
With that, I am going to leave you with this catchy tune. The authors said it was cheesy, but sometimes simplicity can be pretty profound. It was 11 years ago at this point and who knows what these guys are doing now, so I just dare you to leave them an encouraging note. I hope they still sing these words as they "write them on the doorposts of their houses and on their gates."
Ready? Set? Go, Missionary!