Family Lessons 25: Tongue Cancer

My Grandmother recalled her own grandmother as a rather formidable character. Very much the Victorian, she appears rather prim on the surviving family photograph. Clara Nelson actually came from a poor background and was born out of wedlock, so maybe she compensated for this with an inflated sense of dignity in later life. Her neighbour once remarked that her ‘sharp tongue would be the death of her”. Sure enough, she died at Christie Hospital in 1949 of carcinoma of the tongue, among other things. I’m sure it was a rather unpleasant way to go; any sense of poetic justice we detect here surely evaporates under the rays of common compassion.

As James argues, the tongue (that emblem and engine of speech) is a powerful thing. Paul tells the Romans:

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:9)

I do not know if my great, great Grandmother called on the name of the Lord, even in those last, painful days of impaired speech and difficult swallowing. Truly, the Lord could have made out her meaning, even if anyone else present could not. If she never did call on Him, her tongue will be well enough at the judgement, for:

…every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So call on Him while He is near. (Is 55:6,b)