“AND” and “&”

alphabetYou may or may not know this but the ampersand (&) was once the 27th letter of the English Alphabet see photo (left) from 1836 text book. Early in the development of the English language two letters “E” and “T,” were commonly combined “et” which meant “and.” Over time the writing of those two letters began to look more and more like what we know today is the “ampersand.”

Even the name “Ampersand” comes from a contracting of the following phrase at the end of the reciting of the alphabet “ x, y, z and per se and.”

If you are still reading after that intro hang with me for a few more lines. I promise there is a spiritual connection or two coming.

Have you ever set through the credits at the end of a movie and noticed how they will sometimes use “and” and other times use “&.” You may have thought that this was just a space saver in the credits, but in reality it actually communicates to those in the movie industry some very important information. Take for instance credit that reads the following:

Screen play by:
Jack Simmons & Jill Upland
And Sam Cook

Jack & Jill means they worked on it at the same time together. Sam worked on it as well, but never with Jack or Jill. In other words, Jack and Jill were a team who worked closely together while Sam work by himself possibly having never talked with nor met Jack or Jill. The “&” symbolizes a relational connection to a work that is deeper than just the “AND.”

Two points to be made from this trivial knowledge:

  1. Things change! Even the English alphabet has changed over the past 200 years. Letters have been scribbled together and words mashed up to create new or more concise meanings. Spiritual speaking we as Christians have to recognize what we may have once considered part of the gospel, (ie. a specific translation of the Bible like KJV or a specific tool like flannel graph) was in fact, actually not part of the gospel but an add on, that all though good for the gospel at the time, is no longer helping get the gospel message out there. We must be willing to release and move on, identifying what the gospel is and new methods/tools to help connect it with the world.
  2. Romans 12:4-5 says: For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and(&) each member belongs to all the others. As Christians, we are called to be (&) members not “and” members. We are called into relationship to help work out the gospel story not to be individual contributing from afar, but brothers and sisters in Christ.

Next time you watch a movie, take a moment to view the credits. Hopefully they will remind you of your calling to be the &.

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