The three words that can save your life – so ran the BBC news headline that recently caught my eye. Reading through the corresponding article I learned of a group of friends who had got lost in a forest on a dark wet night. They had no idea where they were and so, finding a spot with mobile signal, they dialled 999. On answer one of the first things they were asked to do was to download a smartphone app called “what3words”. Having downloaded the app they were able to give three words that precisely gave their location such that they were swiftly found by a search and rescue team.
Having read the article I promptly downloaded the what3words app onto my iPhone to see what it did. The developers of the app have divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3 metres by 3 metres, with each square having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address. When you open the app on your phone you’re presented with a grid of squares with your location identified by a blue dot in one of the squares. You can also view the grid superimposed on a satellite picture so you can see exactly where you are in relation to your surroundings. For instance, as I sit here at my desk in the Rectory typing this article, my three-word location is jumps.rationed.nearly. From the satellite picture I can see that the whole Rectory has around 30 squares, and so if I moved to the kitchen I could find myself at refilled.factor.fights. If I were to head over to the Church and stand in the porch I’d be at crop.ballots.drifters.
It’s fascinating to explore the app, and not just to see the sometimes playful combination of words that have been randomly generated (there’s a location within the Stoke Climsland Old School that is executive.dime.agreed). You can see just how powerful it is and why the emergency services can be keen to see it installed on people’s phones. It is far more accurate in pinpointing a location compared with postal codes, and hence in an emergency situation it could literally be a life-saver.
This idea that three words can save your life got me thinking – within the Christian faith we also have three words the can save your life, and those same three words work wherever you are in the world. The words are “Lord Jesus Christ”. Lord – the acknowledgement that there is a God over and above us. Jesus – the earthly embodiment of God who shows us what God is like. Christ – the anointed one, the Messiah, who died for all sins, was resurrected and now waits for us to join him in heaven. For those who have come to understand the full significance of those three words it is not only a life-saver here in our earthly days as we see our lives transformed, but it is a life-saver for the whole of eternity.
Anytime, anywhere, the same three words apply. Lord Jesus Christ.