Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…It’s all Greek to me!
Many of you may know my wife Lynn. Some of you know her because she has lived in the communities of Seaford and Bridgeville practically all her life. With the exception of a few very short stints in other places, albeit close by, she has called these two towns and the surrounding area home all of her life. As a result, some of you are familiar with her because you too have been a part of those communities for many if not all of your years. Some of you know her because she is a part of the Crossroad family and you have seen her here at church or at church activities for more than a decade now. Some of you know her because of her career. She has worked for the Woodbridge school district in one capacity or another for many years. When we met she was a brand new teacher. 10 years later she left the classroom to become a school administrator. She is now back in the classroom, privileged to get to spend the remaining years of her profession doing what was always the desire of her heart…teaching children. One of the things I hear her talk of often and have for the entirety of our marriage has been teaching strategies. Some better than others, some highly successful with some students while other strategies seem to resonate with different students. I find it highly interesting to listen as she tells me of all of the various ways children learn. In light of that, I was intrigued by something I read in a book that has captured my attention lately.
In his work The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn, the author speaks about a Greek word, Hupogrammos. Grammos means writing and Hupo means under, so the literal interpretation of the word is underwriter. In our vernacular that term refers to a person or persons who accept the risk of a fiduciary relationship, such as a mortgage or an insurance policy. They are the entity that determines that the risk is one worth taking for the financial institution involved. But in ancient Greek times it meant something much closer to the literal meaning of the term. It was actually a teaching strategy not unlike some of those employed by my wife today as she teaches kindergarten students to write. The hupogrammos was a small, shallow box containing a layer of soft wax. The ‘Teacher’ would write a word in the wax with a stylus made of wood and then the ‘Student’ would take their own stylus and allow the point to follow along in the groove of the word written out by the teacher. In this way the student would learn the shapes of the letters and the words they formed when linked together.
My new understanding of this Greek word hupogrammos became more interesting yet when Cahn linked it with a specific scripture. 1 Peter 2:21 says For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. The Greek word that Peter wrote that we have translated into the word ‘example’ was hupogrammos. Kahn points out that what Peter was saying was that Jesus left us a learning strategy to act as we should as His followers. We are to literally allow our lives, our words, our actions even our thoughts toward others be patterned after or be tracings of the life, words, actions and thoughts toward others Christ chose. John wrote that God is Love. John also recorded for us that Jesus said He only did and said what the Father told Him to. Ergo…Jesus’ life, words, actions and thoughts toward others were those of love. Ephesians 5:1-2 say this; Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling aroma.
If we are to be good imitators, if we are going to follow the hupogrammos that is Christ with the stylus that is our life, then it seems to me there is one Greek word we must learn to write with our lives, words actions and thoughts over and over and over again. Much like the days of old, long before my wife was a teacher in a classroom when another teaching strategy was employed regularly. If you are as old (or as irreverent) as I, you remember being made to stay in an empty classroom to write the same sentence on the chalkboard again and again. One had to repeat this exercise until the lesson finally took hold while your classmates were at recess or already well on their way home at the end of the day. So what is this Greek word we all need to know how to illustrate in every facet of our lives? What word needs to permeate all of our actions, our words, our every thought toward others? Look it’s written for us…right there in the hupogrammos. A-G-A-P-E…A-G-A-P-E…A-G-A-P-E.
So now, learning to L-O-V-E with your actions, to L-O-V-E with your words, to L-O-V-E with your thoughts toward others…imitate Jesus life with yours, take your stylus and…go be Awesome!