The New York Times bought WORDLE, and immediately things went awry.
Not familiar with WORDLE? It’s a simple game that requires a perfect combination of luck and skill. It was developed by a guy blessed with the last name of Wardle as a way of amusing his wife during the pandemic. The gist of it is that you attempt to figure out a five-letter word in six guesses. Every guess offers information about the final word… if you have letters that make up the word, but aren’t in the right place, those letters are in yellow. If you have letters in the right place, the color is green.
What set it apart was 1) there was only one word per day (which meant you couldn’t get sucked in… I’m looking at you, Candy Crush); 2) everyone got the same word (a rare instance of commonality in a divisive world); and 3) Mr. Wardle made it incredibly easy to share your score without giving away the answer creating a mini-community.
At one point my Facebook page was filled with little squares from folks from all parts of my life sharing their WORDLE scores. Around this same time, the New York Times recognized a good thing and bought the rights to the game.
Undoubtedly, Mrs. Wardle has gone from amused to pleased.
The Times stated that they were not initially planning on charging for access to the game, nor would they make significant changes. The latter part of that promise only lasted a few days (February 15th, a day of infamy), when players discovered there were actually TWO correct words.
You’d think the new folks were sitting in someone else’s pew.
It would be easy to belittle those who are frustrated with a change to a (free) game that has only recently gained popularity. Really easy. However, I think this goes beyond the “change is hard” trope or the “this is why we can’t have nice things” lament.
At a point in time where we debate over masks and boosters or whether to meet online or in-person, it was a relief to have a small sign that we might be able to be on the same page, working on the same word. For a brief few weeks there was a feeling of unity.
It doesn’t occur daily… or even weekly… but there are times when the church is able to pull this off as well. There are times when folks who disagree about any variety of topics are able to come together to make sure that the hungry are fed and those imprisoned are visited. I believe those times when we are able to share in the work of the Gospel (the Word of God, as it were) is when real unity occurs.
(Not sure where Mrs. Wardle stands on this… but am pretty sure this is pleasing to our God!)