Our Lectionary readings for this week speak of wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33
); the power of the tongue (James 3:1-12
); and taking up the cross (Mark 8:27-38)
. What holds all of these ideas together is the call to live with integrity. Integrity is not the easy choice – which is why it so easily gets put aside when we face the tough moments in our lives.
We live with integrity when we embrace God’s wisdom and live it out, rather than just speaking words that we do not put into action.
We live with integrity when we stay faithful to God’s ways, and speak God’s message, even though it may result in suffering, struggle and sacrifice.
We live with integrity when we acknowledge who Jesus is and proclaim him as the Christ, while understanding that he is a crucified God who calls us to take up our own crosses.
We live with integrity when our lives reflect the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and when our words are filled with praise, blessing and wisdom, rather than cursing.
When our words, our thoughts, our attitudes and our actions all align with one another, and with the ways of God that were taught and lived by Jesus, then our lives are lives of integrity and they are lives that add value and make a life-giving contribution to the world.
May the words we speak and sing in worship become the actions and attitudes of our lives.
Because of your grace and beauty, your compassion and truth,
we offer you our tongues, O God, as instruments of praise.
In joy and celebration, in grief and despair,
may we praise you for your constant presence.
With those we love, and with those whom we find it difficult to love,
may we praise you through words of grace and respect.
When the world feels safe and right,
and when the world is made threatening through propaganda,
hate-speech and the rhetoric of violence, may we praise you through words of truth,
of peace and of justice.
And so in all things, with all people, at all times,
may our tongues speak only praise, for the sake of your reign and your glory.
Written by John van de Laar