There are linguists who believe it is nigh unto impossible for us to express our inner most thoughts without the use of metaphors. “I love you with all my heart” is one I hope you use often. Our faith, our walk with God (there I just used one) is filled with metaphors. I was browsing a hymnal this weekend and noted “Far and Near the Fields are Teeming,” “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,” Break Thou the Bread of Life,” “O, For that Flame of Living Fire,” “The Great Physician Now Is Near,” “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” “Showers of Blessings,” “Sound the Battle Cry” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “We Plow the Fields.”
Jesus was a master of painting pictures to communicate great ideas. The sawdust in one’s eye, the lost coin, the lost sheep, the light under a bushel basket are just a few. I have noticed that I cannot really teach my students anything until I have metaphorized it. Once I have done that in terms of something common in their lives I can then get them to see (yet another) it.
One of our challenges is to strive to be fresh. Our experience can be so clichéd people stop listening to us. I can remember being in church listening to a man who was well spoken but his well spoken, well articulated words and phrases were so clichéd, so old, they had been resoled a hundred times. (yet another)
It is human. It is the way we think and process ideas. Great ideas are only great if we can communicate them. Jesus speaks of heaven in terms that we can understand. That’s why Jesus said, “In my father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Written by Roger Bothwell on November 17, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574