Beyond Words? Who, then, Shall Lead Them?

“No one was able to give Jesus an answer” (Matthew 22:46a).

The Pharisees are stumped again! The conversation with Jesus ends in silence. No one will dare ask him any more questions. When it comes to the big question of faith, words are not enough.

A prayer I often offer during worship at funerals is, “that we do not try to minimize our loss or seek refuge from it in words alone.” Indeed, words cannot do justice to our life and death. Have we stood with someone in grief and did not know what to say? I think we are often too hard on ourselves. Is the problem that we do not have the right words? Or, rather are we not aware of the value of being with another in silent love?

When called by God both Jeremiah and Moses protest, claiming that they “cannot speak”. Some have interpreted this as evidence that these famous prophets toiled under some kind of speech defect. I was surprised to find that in the development of early Christianity in Russia, stuttering was considered a sign of a true prophet. Then again, Dietrich Bonhoeffer argued that the priority of God’s witness is found in human weakness (Eberhard Bethge, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer”, New York: Harper & Row, 1985, p.374).

“Preach the Gospel always,” goes the proverb, “use words if necessary.”

Over time I am learning the value of non-verbal communication in getting a message across — my body-language, behavior, touch, presence and attitude.

Because faith is simply beyond words.

1 thought on “Beyond Words? Who, then, Shall Lead Them?

  1. Good points, Pastor Malina. I did not know what the power of just being their had until I made my first mission trip to Ukraine this winter. I saw so many things that made the Holy Spirit manifested, that I went a second time. What I saw there is true here. It is not about words it is about the Word. It is not about love, but about Love, who God is. It is not about how much we are different, but how much we are the same. It is not about working in the dark, but being the lights, in a dark place. A light does not use words, but by being there illuminates what the darkness would hide. God bless you in your ministry, Pastor малина.
    (I only learned the meaning of your name when I was learning the names of food in Ukraine)

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