At a time of fake news and soaring verbal bombast at the highest levels of government, churches have an opportunity to sow seeds of harmony. June 2 is the 13th annual Say Something Nice Sunday, a time to make our language more Christ-like. Church goers are being urged to say something nice about fellow Christians and non-Christians, or at least to refrain from saying things that are negative and hurtful.
The program began in the United States at First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. The church's first pastor in 1682, William Screven was a native of Summerton, England. The church covenant of 1751 states: 'We will be careful to conduct ourselves with uprightness and integrity, and in a peaceful and friendly manner, toward mankind in general, and toward Christians of all descriptions, in particular.'
Say Something Nice Sunday is a continuation of the spirit of that covenant. The current pastor and past president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Rev R Marshall Blalock, is an enthusiastic supporter of the movement which has spread across the US and to the UK.
Churches of many denominations now join the celebration including Baptists, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodists and Presbyterian. Roman Catholic Cardinal Dolan of New York stated, 'How wonderful it would be if all churches and their members decided to say something positive about other Christians and Christian groups at least one Sunday per year in recognition of our common belief in Christ.'
Why have a Say Something Nice Sunday? The simple answer is that words are powerful. Words have the power to build up or to tear down. Words have the power to heal or to wound. With our words we can build up the community of faith. It is a way to combat the influence of the negative environment in which the church finds itself today.
Nowhere are words more important than in the church. 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us.' Words take on a life unto themselves. Once they are given life they are on their way for good or evil. There is no way to call them back or to un-speak them.
This special day is an opportunity to build up the community of faith, strengthen relationships and heal old wounds. Even in the Christian community our communication is far from Christ-like. In Philippians 1:27 we read, 'Let you communication be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.'
This is a day to say thank you to those who make our lives better just by being a part of them. It is an opportunity to recognize those who contribute to our lives in specific ways. It offers us an opportunity to apologize for words spoken in anger, hurt, frustration or disappointment. All communities of faith and all individuals are encouraged to join in the celebration.
Free materials are available at www.fbcharleston.org. Click on Messages/Resources at the top of the page and then scroll down to Say Something Nice Sunday.