Life Teen Community Speak Something New by Joel Stepanek I wish I could speak things into existence. Seriously, what a great superpower to have? I don’t need to fly be invisible have massive strength read minds possess incredible intelligence I just want to be able to say, “I need a cheeseburger, right now,” and it appears in front of me. I could solve a lot of problems that way. I could see a situation that needed intervention and create the solution out of nothing. Not only that, but it would be convenient for me. No more waiting in line for the next iPhone. No more grocery shopping. No more getting on a plane to take a trip. I could just speak what I needed into existence. It wouldn’t all be selfish. I could help the world out, too. Things like poverty could be cured with a single word. With a syllable, I could draft a document that would bring wars to close. I could rebuild entire cities devastated by natural disasters and hospitals to help heal those that were hurt. Suddenly this superpower is a whole lot bigger than cheeseburgers. Creative Speech We know words matter, but usually in a negative way. We recognize the destructive nature of speech, but when it comes to believing we could speak something good into existence we start to doubt. But our words do have power – the power to create – but not in the way my superpower can make a delicious bacon cheeseburger out of nothing (that’s right, I added the bacon mid-blog). Our words become powerful when they submit to a higher power. In the beginning of the Bible, there is a book called “Genesis,” which means “beginnings.” It tells the story of who we are, why we are here, and what we are supposed to do. It talks about God creating the world in a way that is ordered and good. How does God do this? God. Speaks. The ancient writer of Genesis is pretty intentional about God creating in this way. God doesn’t think up the world. God doesn’t imagine light. God doesn’t hum or sing or draw. God uses a voice to create: “And God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Later on, that same writer in Genesis talks about how God created people – but catch the important note that this writer includes: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26, 27). God creates humans but does it so they resemble God. God’s image. God’s qualities. God’s responsibilities. God’s voice. If God’s voice can create, can’t ours? Word and Light Fast forward thousands of years and a lot of history to this little town where this young girl lives. She loves God. She is a devout Jewish girl getting ready to marry a righteous Jewish man. Then her whole life changes. This girl named Mary has a vision of an angel named Gabriel and he has some news. God has chosen Mary to bring the Second Person of the Trinity into the world. God is going to take on flesh and that means God needs to be born. But it is more than that. God needs to be raised, too. God needs to do all the human things that humans do. God needs to learn how to walk play eat remember bedtimes speak and all of that is going to be Mary’s job, along with her soon-to-be- husband Joseph, too. But God isn’t going to force this on Mary. Mary gets to decide if this mission – one that involves eventual heartbreak – is something she is up for. Mary doesn’t think of the answer. She doesn’t make a hand motion for an answer. She doesn’t nod. Mary speaks: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). And her words allow God to take on human flesh and become one of us. This moment is huge – one of the Gospel writers says that at this moment “light shined in the darkness.” This Gospel writer, named John, starts out his writing with an ancient hymn about Jesus that the earliest Christian community used to sing. This hymn calls Jesus “the Word”: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). And this Word was also going to bring light into the world. In the beginning, God created light by His word. Through Mary, God brought light into the world that was the Word. Mary taps into that powerful creative reality of her spoken word and something new happens – God becomes flesh. But this wasn’t a superpower Mary had – it was a word that allowed Mary to be humble enough to let God do the work. This word that allows God to do big work is simple – the word is fiat. Fiat Makes Us New Many years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of the important pieces of writing that concerned Jesus and the teachings of the Church were compiled along with all of the important Jewish writings into what we know as “the Bible.” Many years after that, all those writings were translated into one single language – Latin. When you read that translation, you will notice that the writer preferred the word “fiat” in a few key situations. When God creates light by speaking, the Latin reads, “fiat lux,” or “let there be light.” When Mary responds to Gabriel, she speaks that word “fiat” when she says, “let it be done.” When Jesus teaches people how to pray, He tells them to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,” and the word “fiat” shows up there, as well. Fiat is not simply a “yes” to God, it is a submission to the great things God wants to do in our lives. It is not laying something down, but it is picking something up. It is creative. It allows God to speak something new into our world. It allows us to bring Christ to others. It brings us on an adventure. But we need to speak it. And we need to speak it from our heart. Every day we make a “fiat” to God is a day where anything can happen. What if you had a superpower where you could speak things into existence? What would you use it for? Would you bring hope to the hopeless? Would you speak love into the world where it is broken? Would you help bring change – would you use it to help change who you are for the better? That power exists – but we don’t possess it. We can only speak in a way that makes us open to the wildly creative, incomprehensible, and wholly incredible Spirit of God that transforms us and our world, making all things new. This year at Life Teen, we are going to be praying into that single word – fiat – and allowing it to radically transform us. We invite you to do the same and journey with us as we step into the new thing God is doing, and the ways that God still speaks light into the world, and the ways that God does that through each of us in a unique way – all of us filtering that light into the world. But it first starts with that word and the intention behind it. Let it be done. And as we make that fiat and the words leave our lips, spoke in faith and hope of what God will do, God always responds. Let there be light. Download our new annual theme wallpapers here.