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From the Pastor's Desk

Late last month – during Holy Week – we awoke to the news that in the early morning hours of March 26 the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore had collapsed due to the impact from a large container ship that lost propulsion power and struck a pylon supporting the bridge. As I write this, efforts are still underway to recover the bodies of the remaining construction workers whose lives were lost because of the bridge’s collapse. It is a terrible tragedy for the families of these men, and we pray for them. Officials tell us that there will be long-term impact on traffic due to the Key Bridge being a major part of the I-95 corridor on the East coast. Even more, we can expect supply chain impact due to the closure of the port of Baltimore because of what happened. For people who live in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, this is a bridge that many of us have driven over lots of times. Because this is familiar to us, it hits close to home.  

Although we give thanks that this did not happen in the daytime during peak traffic times, there is still loss of human life. The impact from this bridge collapse will be felt for a long time to come. The word “impact” seems to be woven throughout this narrative: the impact of the container ship on the bridge that led to its collapse; the impact felt by those who lost loved ones; the impact on traffic and shipping.  

In thinking about this, what is the impact of Jesus’ resurrection upon the world? Upon my life? Upon your life? We recently celebrated the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, but what is the connection – the impact – of this to me today? My mind goes back to a recent church workers conference where the presenter shared a poem by the British poet, Malcolm Guite. He is a poet, singer-song writer, Anglican priest and academic. The poem of Guite’s that was shared with us at the conference was based on words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: 

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” – Mathew 12:36-27 

What if every word we say 
Never ends or fades away, 
Gathers volume gathers weigh, 
Drums and dins us with dismay 
Surges on some dreadful day 
When we cannot get away 
Whelms us till we drown? 

What if not a word is lost, 
What if every word we cast 
Cruel, cunning, cold, accurst, 
Every word we cut and paste 
Echoes to us from the past 
Fares and finds us first and last 
Haunts and hunts us down? 

What if every murmuration, 
Every otiose oration 
Every oath and imprecation, 
Insidious insinuation, 
Every blogger’s aberration, 
Every facebook fabrication 
Every twittered titivation, 
Unexamined asservation 
Idiotic iteration, 
Every facile explanation, 
Drags us to the ground? 

What if each polite evasion 
Every word of defamation, 
Insults made by implication, 
Querulous prevarication, 
Compromise in convocation, 
Propaganda for the nation 
False or flattering peruasion, 
Blackmail and manipulation 
Simulated desparation 
Grows to such reverberation 
That it shakes our own foundation, 
Shakes and brings us down? 

Better that some words be lost, 
Better that they should not last, 
Tongues of fire and violence. 
O Word through whom the world is blessed, 
Word in whom all words are graced, 
Do not bring us to the test, 
Give our clamant voices rest, 
And the rest is silence.  

("What If" - A poem by Malcolm Guite - Living the Legacy of C.S. Lewis ( 

Wow – that was my reaction when I first heard this poem. So powerful, so true, so fitting for this present time. The words that we use can hit objects (read: other people), and the impact, just like the container ship hitting the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, can be devastating. Is this one of the take-aways from Easter? How is the life of the risen Christ seen and heard in me – my words, my actions, my interaction and treatment of others? Our words have the power to bless and they have the power to curse. They have the power to build up and they have the power to tear down. Here is a call for us to use our words – whether in-person or online – for good, as Jesus would have us use them. Especially now in this Easter season of resurrection and new life, but certainly at all times and in all places, let our words be grace-filled, as St. Paul writes: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:6). May it be so with us! 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!