Friday, February 02, 2018

Golden Apples in Silver Settings

A nice card
My wife handed me the card, holding it open to reveal the inscription on the inside. The exterior was rather plain and less attractive than I’d hoped; however the wording was well suited for the occasion. “We can keep that one in mind,” I suggested, “but let’s see if we can find another one with an equally good message, but with a more attractive appearance.”

And so, we continued looking. Our search was for a variety of greeting cards that day. No, none of them were Valentines, but were for birthday, get well, thinking of you, and bereavement sympathy.
Not our choice of card!
For our taste some cards’ decorations were gaudy, cheapened by over-much gilding and ornamentation, while others we considered were too sombre and dark. In some instances we refused cards with ideal visual presentation and tasteful fonts simply because the wording was too flowery or syrupy. We finally left with a selection that we hoped would suit the persons and situations we had in mind.

The challenge was getting both the message (the language art) and the means of presenting it (the graphic art) ‘right.’
I love this word picture from the biblical book of Proverbs; it relates to the benefit of crafting a message and the means of presenting it well: “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov. 25:11). This has often prompted me to imagine various ornaments, such as a delicate necklace, featuring apples of burnished gold, set amongst entwining stems and leaves of silver, to grace a lady’s neck.
Silver picture-frame depiction

We’ve become accustomed to trash talk at many levels of society, from the world of sports to parliamentary debate and just about everything in between. Smart phones and social media provide a platform for spewing out negative attitudes, nastiness, anger and hate. However, the medium also provides opportunity for crafting messages expressing truth, kindness and love.
Raise Your Gaze Thought: A word or message “aptly spoken” or written can be beautiful art when it comes from the heart.


A version of the above piece is to be published in Southwestern Ontario's Standard Guide Advocate Feb. 8, 2018 

Peter A. Black is a retired pastor – well, sort of retired – and lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond -- a children's / family book. ~~+~~


Ruth Smith Meyer said...

Oh how I agree with you, Peter! Words are such wonderful gifts. If we choose correctly, they can do all sorts of things--encourage, lift up, give incentive, build up self esteem, affirm, give direction--oh and so much more. They can also do the opposite, but why would we want to do that when we can fashion words to express the love and goodness people need to hear?

Thank you so much for your reminder.

Carol Ford said...

Peter, cards are difficult to choose. I remember the difficulty of picking a Mother's Day card for my mother-in-law. I knew my husband would not sign one that expressed sacrificial motherly love or other overly loving comments. She wasn't a bad person, but these types of verses made us feel like hypocrites. Another type of card that was extremely hard to find was a birthday card for my birth brother and sister after a 50-year separation; they all referred to a lifetime relationship. Interesting thoughts, Peter.

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Ruth. Your comment reminded me of the 'Living, Eternal, Creative Word' that "became flesh" (human) in Jesus. He is the most wonderful word gift and is 'right' for all people and situations.
And thank you, Carol. I'm sure I get your point about your desire to avoid having a sense of hypocrisy regarding choosing a card in the first situation you describe. And yes, I can see that card selecting for your birth siblings after all those years could prove a challenge. It's lovely that you have been reunited, though. ~~+~~

Susan Penny Harris said...

Peter, the first book I wrote is entitled Golden Apples in Silver Settings so your post caught my attention right away. It was promoted from Proverbs 11:25, a word fitly spoken...
Encouraging and enlightening post as always.

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