Allow me to let you into a secret. When I was writing my communications handbook from 2009 – 2011, I was unsure what to call it. Somebody else came up with the title ‘Who needs words?’, and it stuck. By the time the book came out, the title was part of me, and the implication was that we do, indeed, need words:
So far as we know, though, only humans have the capacity to invent language in order to keep up with their ever-changing environment. As the technological and political landscape alters, so language is constantly morphing in order to make sense of it. Those whose work is to compile dictionaries will testify to this. To be part of this articulate, inventive and occasionally foolish human race is an inestimable privilege. When we blunder our way through the linguistic maze to get our message across, it is part of our unique capacity to be human.
In short, language itself is seen as a gift of God, and is to be used accordingly.
What if not just our words, but every letter with which we form them, were seen as a divine gift? This morning I came across a truly beautiful collection of artworks by a Muslim student. The student concerned is studying at a Christian seminary and has created a gorgeous version of the Hebrew Alphabet. Just one letter is produced below, although you can click on it to see the whole collection. Look at the delicacy, movement and elegance of the design, and then read the artist’s own description of them:
“The title of this piece is Every letter of my being prostrates before Thee. Since Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament I wanted to create a piece which illustrates the sense of divine in the language.”
You will probably speak, or write, a few thousand more words today. Will every letter bring glory to the author of language itself, I wonder?