A Sermon Spoken, A Sermon Lived
Our first few days in Ecuador have been incredible. Yet again, I find myself learning a ton by simply observing how my friends live. I had the opportunity to preach yesterday during the morning church service, but the truth is, I’ve been seeing sermons lived out since I arrived here.
There’s a power that comes from the spoken word. It’s a gift to share the good news from behind a pulpit. But I’m learning more and more that preaching happens every day. We bring the good news to others by the way we live.
It’s always a blessing to participate in a church service in a different context. I love singing some of the same songs we sing back home (but in Spanish) and participating in the communion and offering and just sharing in the overall life of the church.
When I was asked to preach, I thought about various texts and topics and decided to talk about the importance of community in the church. This was an easy topic to land on. Over the times that I’ve been to Ecuador, I’ve learned a ton about the importance of community by observing the church here.
Being able to share those lessons while thanking the church for their example to me, and their faithfulness to the gospel, was a blessing.
It struck me as odd, though, as I stood behind the pulpit to share. Sure. I love to preach and feel incredibly blessed to do so at my home church and in other contexts. It was an honor to share with my friends. But I couldn’t help but think–they already get this. I’m the one who is learning from them.
My friends in Ecuador are some of the most genuine Christ-followers I know. They tirelessly serve one another, the church, and the community. With an unparalleled drive and seemingly indefatigable nature, they continue onward day in and day out.
Sometimes missions work means you’re up early and to bed late. Sometimes it means going from one church to another. One thing is for certain though: The need is great and the work must match it.
A little while later in the evening, we went down to a local park to play sports with some of the members of the church. Pick-up basketball and soccer games commenced on community courts next to the river. Sweat dropped from us by the bucket-fulls and we flung mosquitoes off in droves as we ran and jumped and made new friends.
Barriers were broken down. Kids who were so shy and reticent a day earlier, began to talk about their lives, sharing their likes and dislikes and joking with us. We shared games and stories together, celebrating the gift of community.
It was one of those days that’s SO immensely full you can’t help but hit your bed that evening and fall into a deep sleep because you really lived the heck out of that day.
That was yesterday.
Lot’s of joy.
Lot’s of love.
Lot’s of fun.
It was a day filled with new encounters with friends. It was another reminder of the beauty of the gospel and the power of the church.
I was able to bring the sermon on Sunday morning. And the rest of the day?
I lived among those who are sharing sermons all the time by the way they live. Paul thanks the church in Philipi for their example in the faith, saying, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…”
I feel the same way about my friends in Ecuador. I’m full of joy as I think of our partnership in the gospel.