Wordless sermons are the loudest, the weight of their silent impact reverberating long after the echoes of the preacher’s voice leave the air.
It’s an old adage that says actions speak louder than words .. after all, what good is empty sentiment, hollow accolades are just that, hollow. Worth their weight in dust alone. After all nothing inspires like action does.
The biggest God encounters of my life have never been on the back of a Sunday message.
I’ve met God in a church hall, seated the third row from the back, hands holding snack boxes and little one’s shoes. This quiet one can raise praise to heaven, keep one eye on the little daughter at his feet and shoot his wife a grin all in the same moment. A faithful daddy, loving husband who brings the fathers heart to the centre of his daily walk as he fathers little ones and loves his wife without a thought as to who is watching…
I’ve met God in a late-night pizza dash and the arms of a friend who shelved her to-do list to hold me up when my legs wouldn’t, and feed my kids when I couldn’t function enough to think of food. That night, as my heart turned ash, heaven touched my table in Dominos boxes containing Hawaiian and Pepperoni…I remembered how to breathe again by timing my intakes and exhales to hers.
I’ve met God in women who could care less about theology and exist to pour out love and coffee, these ones are gatekeepers of heaven itself, they breathe prayer into every space pulling heaven down to kiss the earth we stand on.
Great disciples don’t only exist in pulpits but also make meals for the Mumma struggling down the road to get through the week, they open their doors, make room at their tables and stir in the honey to sweeten the cuppas that wash the tears and prayers from eyes and lips past hearts to heaven. They show up to rescreen damaged doors and paint walls readying a family for the next chapter.
Great disciples drive farm utes and tow trailers full of mulch, they laugh while weeding and shovelling gardens beds for the last time. Tears of ache at the transition mixing with sweat of labour and laughter make for a holy melody of mess that somehow purifies the atmosphere heralding healing.
I’ve met God in mummas who get out of bed each day and walk on showing up and shouldering the weight of challenge to raise a family, after being failed, mistreated and abandoned. Pushing the ache to the side they sacrifice and labour to raise little hearts and see them whole. Pushing back uncertainty and fear they show us what it is to live by faith as they daily walk on water.
I’ve met God in grandfathers who could easily retire to a life of golf and fishing but who instead labour to bring rescue and hope to someone else’s grandaughters elsewhere who can never repay the favour. Humble hearts show what it is to value life over comfort and love without limitations.
I’ve met God in children’s wards, flowing through the mirrored hearts of mums and dads standing vigil bedside, holding faith for the impossible, believing for their own miracle while having grace enough to stand and believe with me for mine. These disciples showed me how to teach my heart to beat in time with heaven …walk empty-handed and keep my eyes up in surrender.
I’ve found God in teary children’s smiles and scribbled prayers, these ones that have a clearer understanding of the realities of this world and had to grow up faster than they should, have an ability to forgive completely in a way that evades us adults…the wisdom they carry rivals Solomon himself. Childlike faith that presses in endlessly, no room for doubt..their mustard seeds look more like mighty oaks to me. These ones know the power of perseverance, prayer and praise and they wield them as though life itself rests on it.
I’ve met God a thousand times over in the silent sermons of imperfect people who will seldom set foot behind a pulpit..choosing rather come alongside and allow the testimony of given life do all the talking.
I find God in the in-between spaces. Between Sundays messages in the days that ebb and flow midweek ..Nothing preaches louder or reaches deeper than life alongside. No Sunday sermon can rival its impact.
I’ve seen the absence of God too, in church halls where sermons are preached with agender not heart and actions don’t run congruent with message. The weight of a lesson is not in the words but in the walking out of their intention.
May I never just be worth the weight of my words, but may my life always bear testimony to the truth I know.
May God always be best found in the in-between spaces. May we learn to seek him first there.