As it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within?
1 Corinthians 2:9-11 (NRSV)
It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.
Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
The quote from Francis above is less famous than another “quote” many of us have heard: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” There is no evidence he ever said the latter, but we have a record of him teaching the former… and, when we think about it, both sayings are congruent enough with one another that each leave a “Franciscan” impression. Maybe the actual words aren’t as important as the wisdom they hold.
Words are, of course, useful. I happen to like them quite a bit (and hey look, here I am typing more of them!). But there is something to Francis’s reminder that words must align with action and purpose. Paul here, though stuck communicating within the limits language, is also pushing away from the extensive power of his own words to point to the way God’s power was made visible through his actions in Corinth.
What sort of actions point to God’s power and presence? In this upside-down Kingdom of God, it’s not about wins and wealth, power or prestige, but rather about how we care for one another, especially those who are challenging. How would you share that sort of faith, a faith with fewer words but, perhaps, more of the power of God?
Grace and Peace,