‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’ (Luke 21.33)
What an extraordinary claim to make! The spoken word leaves our lips and is gone. Shakespeare makes Falstaff persuade himself this is all it is: “What is honour? - a word. What is in that word honour? … air!”. Jesus spoke but left nothing in writing; we know only what was remembered, written down later in a different language, now translated into ours. The actual words were lost and his age has long passed. Yet what he said is still alive.
Words, ours too, can live on, for good or for bad. What lasts is not the sound or the letters but what is communicated. Jesus spoke challenging but comforting words, about fresh starts, healing, acceptance, treating others as we hope to be treated – words of life.