It has been years since I have tried to make a New Year’s resolution. Many years ago I resolved to remove the word very from my vocabulary, both spoken and written.
I read a book about English usage in which the author claimed that the word very is not helpful. His point was that very is overused and that to say that something is very good doesn’t say anything more than saying that something is merely good. We use very to add a degree of intensity.
I succeeded by-the-way and virtually eliminated very from my vocabulary. In fact, for several years I am sure that the only time I used the word was to boast that I didn’t. Now, thirty years later it has crept back.
I couldn’t eliminate very all together. In the liturgy it comes up rather frequently. Every time the Nicene Creed is said, we say, “Very God, of very God.” In this context we see the original meaning of the word. It means truly. And in the Creed it simply means that Jesus Christ truly is God.
In the first creation story in Genesis it says that at the end of each day God declares that what God has done is good, but at the end of the sixth day, after humans were created, it was very good. Some preachers use this as a declaration by the Creator that humans are more good than the rest of creation. I may have done this once or twice myself. It is nonsense of course. Clearly taken in context all that’s being said is that God’s creation is truly good. And if that is true, and believe it is, I resolve to do my very best to act as if it all is very good.