The Beauty of the Word

As we near Christmas, I wanted to use this opportunity to pass on a gift given me by a very dear student. During our last class session in November, the students were presenting the product of their final project paper on a selected topic for the Introduction to the Bible. One of the students, Benjamin Van Meter, had done a study on the authorship of the book of Ecclesiastes. Along with his study [which was actually quite a wonderful piece of work] he presented a picture that captured my imagination.

Using a free internet tool called Wordle, he had entered the text of the book of Ecclesiastes. The magic of Wordle created a mesmerizing piece of artwork. The only way I can describe it is to use Wordle’s own description: Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friend.

“Word clouds” – you have to see them to appreciate the sight as certain words stand out, capturing the essence of a message. In a demonstration of the “Wordle toy”, Benjamin made another map after the class, this one taking the text of the young man’s hymn of love in the Song of Solomon.  Adding a little artistry with colors and fonts, the final picture became a delightful gift for his wife, Jessica, as the words seemed to punctuate a delightful expression of Love.

Song of Solomon in a Wordle

Let me offer a recommendation. During the Christmas time, you might want to play with the toy and enter the text of the Christmas story just to see the beauty of the Word Made Flesh! I would love to see the result!  Merry Christmas!