February 15, 2022

From The Rector…

Spoilers below—you’ve been warned…

The New York Times bought Wordle less than a month ago and they have already ruined it. Ok, maybe they haven’t RUINED it—but they have created a new website and they have banned certain words from being used. For instance, slave will never be the answer to a Wordle—and I get that—neither will wench—I didn’t realize it was non-pc to use that one. It’s not really the censorship that bothers me. It is the fact that there are now two Wordle websites.

That may seem like a little thing and on the surface of things, it is. But I don’t simply play Wordle to tease my brain; I enjoy the camaraderie I enjoy with all my other fellow Wordle buddies—be they here or abroad, stranger, friend, or family member. Wordle was a means of connection—a way of growing in relationship with common humanity. We were all doing the same word: one word every day, five letters, six attempts. Now we have introduced a second site, a second possibility—it’s chaos I tell you.

Steve and I discovered this second site launched by the New York Times this morning when I was completely stumped by the letter combination and Steve bragged he had gotten his in three tries. Granted, Steve is smarter than me, but I was at a complete loss. I know we start with the same word every morning—SOARE—I had gotten three letters from that combination and a fourth from my next attempt, but those four letters did not seem to fit any other word I knew. Steve looked over my shoulder at my screen and realized we were not working with the same word—mine had a “G” and his did not. That is when we began to figure out that the NYT had launched its own site with its own established standards. So much for the original Wordle.

We seem to have a pattern of taking things over and messing them up. It traces all the way back to the Garden and Adam and Eve. They desired to possess the knowledge of good and evil and for a minute, things seem great—then they realize they are naked, get kicked out of the garden, experience labor pains—in childbirth and in actually having to get a job now—and disappoint the one who loved them unconditionally. It doesn’t take long for us to mess stuff up.  

The consequences of that original sin continue to haunt us. We still desire to own and possess whatever we think will bring us pleasure or joy or security or power or wealth. Those things are an idol to us—they stand in for God who is the only true source of our pleasure and joy and security and power and wealth. Sometimes those possessions are people or material things or even websites. Other times those possessions are immaterial—cultural mores, law codes, unspoken rules like don’t wear white after Labor Day. The idols we worship are the things we prioritize over another human being be they family, friend, or stranger. When our loyalty to those things is of higher priority than our loyalty to God and that which he has created—we are guilty of idol worship. And none of us are exempt.

Though we may all be guilty of that original sin played out in the Garden, we are also all acquitted by the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By his life we are taught how to love and how to live. By his death we are set free to do so in this world so that we can also do so in the next. God put the world to right through Jesus and we are the benefactors of that righteousness.

The real problem is that we think we can do it better than God. We see the world around us and instead of making friends with it and entering into relationship, we want to fix it, conquer it, ignore it, or hope and pray that someone somewhere will do something. Whether we are drawn to the world or repulsed by it—we would do well to remember that it is God’s world and not our own. We can neither possess it or perfect it—but we can connect with it and grow with it doing the work that is pleasing in God’s sight.

Maybe the New York Times would do well to learn that lesson. They may have bought Wordle—but it didn’t need fixing. It simply needed to grow.

Light and Life,