“Words matter!” We’ve heard that said countless times since the tumult at our National Capitol on January 6th, 2021, a day of epiphanies around the country and the world.
“Words matter!,” we’ll hear this phrase many more times as Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2021, approaches and beyond.
I was prompted by what I was hearing to head to Websters and/or Wikipedia to do some word searches, as well as soul searches.
in·sur·rec·tion /ˌinsəˈrekSH(ə)n/ noun, from Latin insurgere
- a violent uprising against an authority or government:
- synonyms-rebellion, revolt, sedition, anarchy, coup, mutiny, overturn
res·ur·rec·tion /ˌrezəˈrekSH(ə)n/ noun, from Latin resurgere
- the action or fact of resurrecting or being resurrected: rising up
- synonyms-revival, restoration, regeneration, awakening, rebirth, upturn
Put simply, the space between these two words is both narrow and expansive; as narrow as the separation between uprising and rising up and as expansive as the difference between what is death-taking and what is life-giving!
People died as a result of the Insurrection on January 6th , 2021. Will trust in our democracy rise up as a result of the Inauguration on January 20th , 2021 and beyond?
It will, I hope, especially if all Americans can give rise to ‘civil discourse’ again-something that has slipped away from our speech and action-but will be rebirthed if we really believe it when we say, “Words Matter!”
Did you see the word ’surge’ in the Latin etymologies insurgere and resurgere? We witnessed surge when we saw insurgents push through the guards and the gates around the capitol and again when they surged through the beautiful wood and glass doors! It was a terrifying scene for all within the capitol and all around the world who watched insurgere!
But I can hardly wait to see resurgere in the spring when life rises up and out of the seed and soil to bring undeniable “hope that springs eternal!” The truth is, we’re already watching that surge at our house as the Amaryllis my wife received for Christmas pushes green blades of new life from the hard-shelled bulb potted and centered on our dinner table. This force of resurgere is characteristic of flower blossoms and what life itself is made of!
Sooner than we expect we will see tufts of green and growing grass and weeds surging again through cracks in the sidewalks…something Ruth Bachman from our community has written about in her inspirational book “Growing Through the Narrow Spots”.
She writes about health and other crises, but the current state of our democracy might well be characterized also as a ‘narrow spot’ from which new life will certainly grow! After all, faith teaches us Resurrection can follow Insurrection!
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was the American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery whose poem/hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” (1872) recalls travel scenes from Galilee.
Read through stanzas 1,3 and 5 to feel “Sabbath rest by Galilee” and hear the “still, small Voice of calm” now after the unrest we’ve witnessed and the loud rhetoric that has consumed us in these days. In the ending, without one word – “rise up” and hope!
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper rev’rence, praise.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.
Pastor (retired) Rod Anderson spent 34-years as a pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie.