Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Over the last 2 weeks, 3 of our grandchildren (presently living with us) have enjoyed an unexpected “vacation” from school due to snow. The unplanned winter break provided some interesting challenges for their parents, but never the grandparents. One of the results was that they had the opportunity to feast on some old classic Disney movies. For us it meant hearing repeated recitations from Mary Poppins. My 8-year-old grandson and 7-year-old granddaughter delighted to sing and echo, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” The 4-year-old struggles to get his tongue around it. Nevertheless, the term was ringing in our ears and often repeated. We all had a great time saying and singing it.
Not surprisingly I woke up in the middle of the night: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Here we have a very familiar term – a household word which is absolutely meaningless. I may instruct my spellchecker that is in fact a word, but it is not. When I inquire of Bing, the online dictionary, nothing is found. Wikipedia has an interesting assortment of historical facts, opinions, and otherwise meaningless verbiage regarding this fictitious word (if it is a word). Apparently in the 1964 film Mary Poppins, it was suggested that supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was something to say when one didn’t have anything to say about something! So here we are using empty terms – words void of substance.
Well, all this got me to think about how I use words. Did you know that I have gone one up on this empty practice of using made-up words to indicate nothing? I can, in fact use loaded words, significant words and either fail to recognize or ignore their import. For instance, on the night I referred to above, when I woke to the silent singing (supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…) I began to call on one of my 3 friends. (Note: you may recall that I blogged about them previously; my nighttime visitors are the Lord’s Prayer, The Apostles Creed and Psalm 23.) So I began to pray the Lord’s Prayer. I was almost finished when I realized I hadn’t given it a thought. I was just saying words.
So, after conducting a little personal inventory, I found that if I’m not careful I can actually be pretty proficient at this. I probably practice more than I realized. If I do not purposefully focus, it almost comes naturally. I noticed that I nearly did the same thing last Sunday morning at worship. In fact, I’ve also discovered that I can do this with not only the Apostles Creed and the 23rd Psalm, but also hymns, responsive readings, confessions of faith and confessions of sin, not to mention the reading of Scripture. I’m pretty sure this “skill” can be developed toward extended readings from the Bible as well as sermons. Just goes to show you how desperately I need Jesus.
I wonder if anyone else is discovered this and honed this ability? I have a sneaking suspicion that many others are also perfecting this practice.
Here are 2 passages which come to mind. The 1st reminds me to rest in Jesus; the 2nd exhorts me to effort.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1–2, ESV)
Sleep well – speak better!