When Words Speak Louder than Actions
Actions speak louder than words.
I’ve always hated that expression. I’m a writer, after all. My words are my actions. My actions are my words.
I understand the point, of course. Generally, talking about something is easier than doing it. Talk, as they say, is cheap.
But as I listened to the medley of this Sunday’s Lessons and Carols, I heard a lot of talking, not from the community, but from scripture: God speaks the cosmos into existence. One angel brings messages for Mary and Joseph. Another angel announces Christ’s miraculous birth to the shepherds. The Wise Men tell Herod of a star and a newborn king.
And in the last reading - the crown jewel of them all - John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God.”
It would seem words, according to scripture, are important.
Like, really important.
Not more important than action, but perhaps equally so. In God, word and action become one. God does not speak without taking action. Consequently, God keeps all promises, and Christ is the embodiment of this.
Until Christ, God’s followers believed in the promise of a savior, and when John says “the Word became flesh and lived among us,” he captures the fact that Jesus is both the promise and its fulfillment. Jesus is the Word and the Action together.
This may sound like theological philosophizing, but I take it as very practical reassurance. Words are important, and hearing them, sharing them, and singing them are just as important as acting upon them.
There is a time for action, but there is a time for words, also. Many of us have spent the past weeks bustling and buying and baking, scrambling through lists of chores and gifts as we prepared for Christmas celebrations. We now transition out of that season of preparation - of activity - into the season of epiphany, in which we celebrate the fact our God speaks to us, revealing wishes and desires for our lives.
Let one lesson from this past Sunday be that God’s Word has a place in our lives. Let us make space for it by quieting ourselves and listening for it. And let us speak our own wishes and desires and frustrations in return. As much as we long to hear our God’s voice, our God longs to hear our voice, too.