Monday, April 16, 2018

What is in a Word?


I had to decide for sure what words I would use for the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit because they would be printed in ink for the tags I will put on the HOLey ROLLERS necklaces I am making.  It is the decision of what words to use for the first two Gifts of the Spirit that are the most difficult.  I think those two are also where many of us get stuck.

In most bible translations, they are listed as "fear of the Lord" and "piety".  What in the world does "fear" of the Lord mean?  Does it mean we are supposed to be afraid of God?  Until a few years ago, that one really stumped me.  When I heard that gift described as "wonder", "awe", or "amazement", the meaning became much clearer to me.  If you look up the word "fear" in the dictionary, there is actually more than one meaning.  One is fear as in afraid, and the other is to regard something with reverence and awe.

That is where my decision about what words to use gets a bit confusing because piety is often referred to as "reverence" too.

The word that I was thinking of using to describe piety was the word "practice", and I am still not sure if I made the best choice of choosing the word "reverence".  I feel that piety is really practicing connecting with God through different forms of prayer.  One might ask then what the word "prayer" means, but I am going to leave that one alone for now.  However, there is no doubt that prayer requires practice.

When some calls someone a pious person, it is often not necessarily a complement.  I believe that is why I get stuck on that word "piety" too.  I am reminded of the Pharisees in the bible who were too focused on the rules and regulations of their faith.  I am reminded of people who some might call "holier than thou"--someone who make others feel slighted, small, or unworthy.  It is probably a misunderstanding of what the word "piety" really means, but instead of getting stuck on it, I have tried to come up with and understanding of what the word really means.  Still, I was not sure if using the word "practice" to describe "piety" was really correct.  I could not find piety referred to practice in anything I read.  But, piety is referred to as devotion in much literature.

This is part of what went into my decision to use the words I did on the tags for these new necklaces.  If I did not choose the "right" words, my hope is that maybe even that will cause some to think about them more.

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