One of the messages scrolling across the digital signboard of Forest Road United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia proclaims:
“Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read.”
Hopefully, the message those people read is one of faithfulness and love, where the grace and compassion of Christ is freely given and available to all.
We all have been told that the pen is mightier than the sword. And although I agree, words in and of themselves cannot change the world.
Yes. We need to express ourselves, and speak out against injustice in every form. Yes. We need to speak up for the oppressed and those unable to speak up for themselves.
But speaking up, speaking out, is not enough. We must come to the place where we distill our feelings into pure action. We need to translate our compassion and need for global justice into the pure eloquence of action. Only then will we achieve the global good we all seek.
Actions speak louder than words. They also preach far better sermons. The love of God is best shared by demonstrating it, not talking about it.
I once heard someone say that all Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel. And if all else fails, we can use words.
One may explain water, but the mouth will not become wet. One may expound fully on the nature of fire, but the mouth will not become hot. — Takuan Soho
Words, no matter how wise or erudite can only represent. That’s why our words, even powerful words, such as love, compassion, and justice will never fully achieve the world we desire by themselves. Powerful words are just that: powerful words.
Powerful words need to be supported by powerful actions.
Love needs to be lived. Compassion needs to be shown. Justice needs to demonstrated.
Only then will the lonely will be comforted, will the hungry be fed and will the oppressed finally be set free.