On my bookshelf I have a book that has sentimental value. It was my grandfather’s book, and he has written his name in it. The book is ‘Yap’ by Jan Stewer. I would be amazed if any of you have read it. The Jan Stewer books are about a Devonian chap (the eponymous Jan) and his misadventures with the ‘modern’ world. It’s written in the Devon vernacular and I think you have to either read it aloud in that accent or give your internal monologue a Devonian accent to be able to understand it. Let me share with you a snippet: Jan is watching a game of golf… watching someone line up for a shot off the tee:
Then he started itchin’ his veet as if he was squaishin’ a black-biddle. Next he beginned to wriggle his body, like a chap with a flay in the middle of his back where he can’t scratch ‘n. Then all-to-once, he up with his stick and he fitched thik poor li’l ball sitch a clout, and hat ‘n so-fur as he cude see ‘en. Wonder to me he did’n knack the inzide right out aw’n.Jan Stewer, Yap
See what I mean about how you read it? It’s not easy to work out what he means sometimes.
I was reminded of this recently when I visited someone who had phoned up out of the blue and asked for some help. They had asked me if I was spiritual. Of course I said yes. But both they and I had misunderstood. It later transpired that what they wanted was a spiritualist. Instead of a medium they got a large! I told them that the best a medium could do is talk with the dead, whereas I talk with God, and I told them how they could do that too. It turned into a good conversation once we had worked out what each other meant.
It’s very easy for us to assume that someone else knows what we mean, simply because we do. If you have a background in church you will be used to all sorts of jargon and unusual words (especially in some of the ‘higher’ churches). If you don’t, it’s all a mystery.
Once we had worked out what was needed I prayed for the person and their family, praying that they would know God’s peace, strength, hope and love. I gave them a couple of holding crosses, explaining that when Jesus died on the cross he defeated all the forces of evil, so it’s a strong symbol of God. It’s also something tangible to hold if you’re scared. I also gave them a copy of Mark’s gospel in The Message version so they could understand more about who Jesus is and what he said and did. I tried to explain things in unchurchy language and it was not easy. I hope that it made enough sense that we’ll have some more conversations.
Do you mind your language?
Be blessed, be a blessing