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When to speak

"The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools." Ecclesiastes 9. 17

Journalism thrives on disaster and controversy. The worse things get, the higher the profile of our news reporters becomes and the closer we glue ourselves to our laptop, mobile and TV screens. Producing words is a growth industry in straitened times and most of us lap them up, feeling obliged to keep up with the latest, even if we have heard it all many times already today.

Thanks to the internet we are awash with information and, if the answer isn't there, you can be sure that someone will step in and fill the void with something - regardless of whether it is true. Self-regulation helps but there is so much fake news and so many conspiracy theories out there, how can one be sure?

The Bible sets great store by words. The books of the Bible were composed over a period when records were expensive to keep. Only what really mattered was kept for posterity. "All scripture is God-breathed and useful for instruction..." Paul counsels Timothy (2 Timothy 3. 16-17). And consider the absence of what today would be considered essential: we don't even have a description of the physical appearance of Jesus!

"Word" enjoys a much richer meaning in the Bible. Rather then simply letters on a page, "word" conveys the creative expression of its author. God speaks creation into being and Jesus, who was there at the beginning, is announced as the Living Word. In 1 Kings 19. 11-13 Elijah hears the voice of God as a whisper through the storm.

May the Lord suppress our appetites for gossip and scandal and open our ears to his whispering through the surrounding clamour...

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