“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.