WHEN HE COMES riding into the city on a mule, the cry goes up, "Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke 19:38), and the Pharisees say, "Master, rebuke thy disciples" (Luke 29:38), and Jesus says, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out" (Luke 19:40). The point is, of course, that the stones do cry out. The mountain, the flames, cry out, the pretty girl at the piano cries out, and the child being born into his first summer, the old man smoking his last summer down to the butt like a cigar without knowing that it is his last summer. They all cry out truth, and their cry is wordless and silent and devastating. As somebody said, God does not sign his sunsets the way Turner did, nor does he arrange the stars to spell out messages of comfort. What is truth? Life is truth, the life of the world, your own life, and the life inside the world you are. The task of the preacher is to hold up life to us; by whatever gifts he or she has of imagination, eloquence, simple candor, to create images of life through which we can somehow see into the wordless truth of our lives. Before the Gospel is good news, it is simply the news that that's the way it is, whatever day it is of whatever year.
- Originally published in Telling the Truth