Do As I Say

Front of sanctuary at Crim Memorial United Methodist Church in Philippi, West Virginia

I’ve been saying for a while that I wanted to visit a certain church – mainly because good friends of mine worship there. We first met about a year and a half ago, but they have quickly become two very encouraging and supportive people in my life.

I’ve been saying I wanted to go there, but this past weekend I actually did it.

As it turns out, the tension between “saying” and “doing” was the focus of Sunday’s worship service at Crim Memorial United Methodist Church in Philippi, West Virginia – this week’s stop on my Summer Itinerancy 2015 (which you can read about here.)

To give you an idea of this tension between “saying” and “doing” – the opening hymn was “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” but the theme of the sermon boiled down to “actions speak louder than words.”

So should we wish for more tongues to sing our great Redeemer’s praise or should we wish for more hands helping out at the food pantry?

WWJD?

Jesus employed words and actions during his ministry. He shared parables to teach important concepts, but he also laid healing hands on the sick and served up bread and fish to the hungry.

If we are to follow his example, it would seem both “saying” and “doing” are important work for a Christian disciple.

I think where we run into trouble is when what we do fails to match up with what we say.

I don’t believe it’s a matter of “actions speak louder than words” so much as it’s a problem when either our words or our actions loudly betray our calling as disciples.

Both words and actions can speak loudly.

Both have the power to inspire, heal, and energize, but both also have the power to discourage, harm and deflate.

I recommend using our words and our hands – but guarding against either of them being hurtful.

I suggest using our words and our hands – and making every effort to have our hands do what our words say we think is right.

The pastor put it this way: “Are we living what we profess?”

As disciples we are called upon to be a light in the world.

Of course a light can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the circumstances.

Bright sunlight directly in your eyes while you attempt to steer your car along a curvy road?

– Not so good.

Bright sunlight streaming through a beautiful stained glass window?

– Priceless and inspirational.

We are called to be a light in the world with what we say and what we do.

May we, through what we say and what we do, be a light that encourages and inspires and not one that blinds and distracts.

Lord, let me do as I say.

Morning sunlight streams through a stained glass window, creating bright patches of light on a red carpet.

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