I don't want to get preachy with anyone. But each one of us represents a sermon. We may not be preaching from a pulpit in a church, but what we are saying is potentially as meaningful and inspirational to others as any formally delivered sermon.
I'm not antichurch. Quite the opposite. I love to sit in places dedicated to God. I like to think I'm just soaking up the atmosphere. I even imagine these holy settings as places where you sometimes feel you can even smell God. But sermons and preaching don't always occur inside a building. We may not look for them in our everyday lives, but they're there.
For example, one rotten day, I had not behaved well at work. Oh, I did my job but I hadn't "played well with others," as the saying goes. Getting onto the crowded, smelly subway after work didn't improve my mood. Being jostled and shoved into a small spot where I could barely hang onto the strap to balance myself was just one more indication that I was an unworthy, unlovable person stuck in an unlovely universe of events beyond my control.
Something brushed against me, cooing. I looked up to see a baby in a backpack, grabbing for me, looking for a little baby interaction. I tried scowling, refusing to be jollied into a better mood. This only amused the baby, and he or she tried harder to get my attention. Pretty soon we were having a marathon meeting of eyes and funny faces and, I admit it, gooing and cooing noises.
By the time I left the subway car, I felt different about myself; my outlook on the day had changed. The baby provided inspiration that a book or sermon could not have accomplished. The unconditional love expressed to me, which some refer to as grace, lifted me up beyond my own "me-centered" focus.
I found a poem in an old book (the author is listed as anonymous) that I had made into bookmarks as a party favor for the participants of a seminar I was giving on religion. The title is "The Gospel According to You." Here is a portion of it:
Men read and admire the Gospel of Christ
With its love so unfailing and true.
But what do they say and what do they think
Of the Gospel according to you?
You are writing each day a letter to men -
Take care that the writing is true;
'Tis the only Gospel that some men will read,
That Gospel according to you.
The Bible tells us that Christ Jesus "called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1, 2).
Preaching is a bigger obligation than just coming up with the right words and speaking them to others. Now you and I may not think of ourselves as ministers or preachers. But how we live our lives is a source of inspiration, even healing, for those we come in contact with. If a baby who doesn't even speak a language can be a sermon, we can be, too.
The woman who founded this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "The best sermon ever preached is Truth practised and demonstrated by the destruction of sin, sickness, and death" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 201).
We are instruments of healing, so God must be governing us as we go about life's journey. We are each a sermon or gospel, as the above poem says, "Tis the only Gospel some men will read ...."
How great to think that living our lives and expressing ourselves can help others. I like to think we are a good read, a bestseller, a classic that never leaves the reader unhappy or unfulfilled, but inspired and healed.
Ye are the light
of the world. A city that is
set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle,
and put it under a bushel,
but on a candlestick; and
it giveth light unto all
that are in the house.
Let your light so shine
before men, that they
may see your good works,
and glorify your Father
which is in heaven.