Outside the Catholic Church, as we discussed where we might head next, I heard a familiar sound. Within this busy intersection, where hundreds or possibly thousands of people gathered, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”[i] could be heard. From the steeple of the church, God’s message was being proclaimed.
I stood among my team members, on the street corner and sang the words to this Christmas carol.
What impresses me about this experience is that God’s Name is not to be proclaimed in this place. God’s message of salvation is not to be shared. God’s Word is not to be spoken.
But in the midst of it all, God showed up. His Name was proclaimed. I heard it!
I’ve been reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 19 from this experience. Jesus was entering Jerusalem and the crowd of disciples “began joyfully to praise God in loud voices.” (Luke 19:37 – NIV)
Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to control His disciples. Jesus replied with a simple statement and one that we should take note of.
“I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40 – NIV)
If Jesus’ Name is not proclaimed by Jesus’ followers, inanimate objects will do so in our place.
Scripture repeats over and over that we are to praise God. Here are the references to just a few.
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1 – NIV)
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” (Psalm 98:4 – NIV)
“Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:2-3 – NIV)
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty heavens…Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:1-6 – NIV)
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9 – NIV)
Isn’t the salvation of our souls enough to spend a lifetime praising God? I would say it is.
You see, as an American Christian, I have the freedom to praise God and speak His Name whenever I choose. As I wish. It isn’t that way in all parts of the world. I take far too many freedoms for granted. Including this one.
I wonder how many stones have cried out because of my lack of proclaiming God’s Name? Because I chose not to speak? I am not sure I want to know.
But I do know what I can do now. I can proclaim God’s Name. I can praise Him. I can share His message with my neighbor. I can spread His Gospel and gift of grace through this blog.
I am willing to be an ambassador for Christ from this day forward. I am not willing to let stones to do so for me. Are you?
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,