Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Great Medi(t)ator: Tale of the Errant 'T'

Our youth speaker today discussed agency. She talked about the standard stuff---us being free to choose and all. I must confess that I was distracted by daughters number two and three through most of her talk, so I didn't catch everything. (Shame on me, I know.) Until she read 2 Nephi 2: 27---pretty standard fare, but with a difference. Here's how she read it:
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Meditator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
The extra letter perked up my ears enough that I started thinking (surprise!) about the power of words, about how one little letter---in this case, an errant 't'---can make such a grand difference in the meaning of a word: Mediator vs. Meditator. One who goes between vs. one who meditates, ponders, thinks deeply on important things. And Christ, it seems, is both. He steps between us and the demands of justice, freeing us from the captivity and power of the devil, but only as we allow his influence---through the power of agency---into our lives. And he ponders long and deeply on matters of eternal import (including how best to meet our needs), a characteristic, I think, that's part and parcel of Godhood, of his ever-increasing knowledge and dominion.

And thinking about the power of this letter now has me thinking about how God can use our slip-ups, our weaknesses, our mistakes, our human fallibility---even how he can work through us in spite of these things---to make a difference in others' lives, like this youth speaker did for me today, completely unbeknown to her. In fact, I'm certain she, along with many others in the audience, didn't even realize the alphabetical addition.

But I've been meditating on it since. Chalk it up to a growing sensitivity for what my and others' language is doing or to my general obsessive-compulsiveness when it comes to matters of language (e.g. spelling, grammar, usage) or to the fact that I just think way too much. But that errant 't' struck me in an unexpected way.

Here's to hoping this errant 't' can do the same for you.