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Sneaky Scrabble

Apparently the 2015 French language Scrabble championship was won by a New Zealander who didn’t even know his ‘merci’ from his ‘maori’. Nigel Richards won the tournament by memorizing all the words in the French-language Scrabble dictionary. Some analysts of the game suggest that Richard’s feat means that Scrabble is not a game of words but a game of memory and numbers. Which is a bit tragic really, to win a game of words without knowing what any of them mean.

The same tragic game can be played at the table of the Christian Faith. Putting one’s religious tiles on the Board, without even knowing the Word. Seeing ‘Saviour’ for example – seven letters – as simply a way to score an extra fifty points. A strange thing then it is to use the name of Jesus in prayers and songs, and to even score points for piety and devotion, without even knowing him: his person, his heart, his passion, his glory.

In the Book, God laments: ‘These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ The accusation is true in the sense above. Where we can play the game, and put our ‘faith’ on the double word score, but not have any of it in our heart. That was the dangerous game that was being played by one of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus. He wanted the points, but not the Person. And tragically lost the game.

DM 19th March 2019

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