The following was written by Dr. Dan Day, Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship here at CUDS. Dr. Day reflects on the blessing of a misspelled word in a student's paper. We appreciate professors contributing to this blog so that folks visiting our site can get to know our professors better. We hope to post more entries from professors in the future. Thanks Dr. Day!
Do You Believe in Rewords?
A misspelled word sometimes can be a blessing. Probably not for a student's grade, of course, but perhaps in other ways.
As evidence of the latter, there is the sermon manuscript once submitted to me for a Preaching class assignment. The sermon dealt with the consoling power of promised rewards, but the student consistently misspelled the word 'reward,' lamenting the fact that many folks didn't believe in 'rewords.'
After the fifth or sixth appearance of 'rewords' I finally quit fussing about spelling and realized how crucial it really is to believe in 'rewords' as well as 'rewards.' After all, isn't salvation is itself a matter of being 'reworded?' As I Peter 2:10 puts it: "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people, once you had not recieved mercy, but now you have received mercy." Through Christ, the living Word, we are 'reworded' from sinner to saint, from lost to saved, from children of wrath to children of God. Unless we are reworded we are sunk.
Consider the story of Ferdinand Waldo "Fred" Demara, Jr. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1921, Demara became "The Great Impostor" (the title of a 1961 Hollywood movie about him), fraudulently passing himself off at one time or another as a Canadian Navy surgeon, prison warden, Trappist monk, psychology professor, cancer researcher, Benedictine monk, hospital orderly, law student, civil engineer, child care worker, school teacher, editor, deputy sheriff, and dean at a school of philosophy--and he did so without ever finishing high school! When asked why he assumed so many different identities, he answered, "Rascality, pure rascality."
But as he neared fifty years of age, Fred Demara, Jr. finally was truly 'reworded.' He received a Graduate Certificate from Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon, was certified as a Baptist minister and spent the last fourteen years of his life ministering in Los Angeles' skid row and as a chaplain in an Anneheim hospital. His integrity at the last was so apparent that even when his earlier life was revealed, the hospital's administration kept him on their staff as a valued employee. The impostor had become a trusted man of God. Reworded, indeed.
And then there is the better known story from Benjamin Franklin's life. In his early life he composed a witty epitaph (which he later rescinded) for his gravesite. Young Franklin proposed the following inscription:
The body of B. Franklin, Printer; (Like the cover of an old book, Its contents worn out, and stripped of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost: For it will, (as he believe) appear once more, In a new and more elgeant editon, Revised and corrected By the Author.
I believe in 'rewords.' And I look forward, in hope, to the final 'reword.' Do you?