Big words - October 13th 2019
If you would like to impress someone with a really big word, here’s a suggestion for you: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. You can probably pronounce it any way you like. Nobody is going to challenge you. Ironically enough, it means a fear of long words. It affects people who get embarrassed or fear they might be mocked if they have to read out or hear long words. They get dizzy, sweaty and might have headaches. They might even stop reading in case they come up with some word they can’t say or understand.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a big word. But there’s an even bigger one that’s much more common. It’s the word but. It’s a word we all use and it changes things. I would love to come, but…. I was going to do that, but …. Yes it could happen to you, but …. But changes things. It adds another element to the picture. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative. It can introduce excuses, limitations or a fresh perspective.
Jesus once healed 10 lepers. He then told them to go to the priest, get examined - and thereby get permission to join everyone else. As lepers they lived in isolation. They were no doubt very grateful and did exactly as they were told. On the way one of them does something different. He turns round and returns to Jesus to thank him personally. It’s as if he is saying: There’s all these rules and expectations, but there is something more important than that. I may be healed, but there is more to life even than that. I have to go back. Those simple buts turned out to be big words.
This man did not do as Jesus had said. Strangely enough Jesus was pleased by his actions. He may yet turn out to have an inordinate fear of long words. No matter! He doesn’t appear to have a fear of a long-term commitment to following Jesus. The other 9 may have got dizzy, sweaty and got headaches at the thought of pursuing things with Jesus any further. But - there’s that word again - as Jesus put it, his faith had made him well.
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Lord, I like this man. When I am tempted to do just enough to get by, help me to see beyond that and do what you would really like - not just today but in all my tomorrows, too. Amen.