Sunday, April 19, 2015

What is Your Life's Sermon?

My friend Grace in Virginia, writer of Dragon's Alley, sent this to me..  Said it reminded her of me. It is a timely reminder for me.  She suggested that I might work it into a blog post, and indeed that is an excellent idea!

William Ellery Channing was an American pastor who lived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I knew very little about him though one cannot read at any length concerning transcendentalism without encountering his name.  So I did a bit of reading.

Mr. Channing was a theologian and philosopher who was affiliated with the Unitarian Church.  He was a noted preacher and was a leading Unitarian theologian.  There are numerous interesting articles about Channing available on the web.

One tidbit I read stated that Channing was criticized in his own time for failure to affiliate with an organized anti-slavery movement. But though a famous and widely respected pastor, except for his church, Channing was not a joiner.  Much as I have done, he took the position that to commit to an organization diminished one's autonomy.  Think about it.  That is true.

So to the quote.  William Ellery Channing is in good company when he preaches that the best and truest sermons are preached by actions rather than by words.  It is said that Francis of Assisi admonished, "Preach the Gospel at all times.  Use words if necessary."

The Master himself is quoted in the seventh chapter of Matthew as saying, "Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit"  (NIV)

My own parents admonished me in this way by teaching me that "Actions speak louder than words."

Thank you, Grace.

William Ellery Channing 1780 - 1842 RIP


Vee said...

It is so true that the things we do overshadow the things we say. I had not heard of Channing but found the information about his life very interesting.

Grace said...

Oddly enough variations on this were emphasized quite a bit in my home - From "practice what you preach" (tho the people saying this did not) to "it's not a sin what goes into your mouth, but rather what comes out" to "Do good and forget about it"

This quote is just the bedrock of how to live a good life.

vanilla said...

Vee, Channing was an interesting man. And yes, people hear more what we do than what we say.

Grace, thank you again for sending the message along. "Do good and forget about it"? Today it is do good and brag about it, or worse, brag about whatever you do, good or bad.