When you really think about it, words are just letters that are put together in a certain order.  When we look at words in languages that we don’t understand, they mean nothing to us.  And yet, in our own language, words evoke many different emotions.  For most people the words puppy, kitten, balloon, and ice cream carry thoughts of happiness and may even bring a smile to our faces.  Words such as poverty, war, suffering and sickness can tug at our hearts.  Names of those in our families or people we love mean everything to us and yet to others, they are just names. 

Words that are spoken to us by others have the power to tear us down or to elevate us in joy.  Who doesn’t welcome a kind word or a phrase of affirmation offered by someone whom we care about?  Sometimes words can be a call to action.  Sometimes they are a warning to stop. 

Each day we have the opportunity to use our words to encourage others, to help them on their journeys, to assist them through a difficult time.  One word, I believe, spoken in the present transcends into the future…that word is hope.  Today, let us offer hope to all those we meet.  Today, as we celebrate our Sabbath, let us bring hope to our splintered world.