Joyful Noise: More Powerful Than Words

(c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

(c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission


“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways: and the impious shall be converted unto thee.”

A big part of me used to cringe when reading this line from Psalm 50. It seemed, well, prideful. I had a vision of some haughty, holier-than-thou teacher standing up on a podium, shaking a finger at the masses.

But as I’ve read through this psalm, over and over, I realize that the author isn’t talking about placing one’s self above all others, but about the power of transformation to impress itself on others. “Create in me a clean heart,” the psalmist says, “steady me with a guiding spirit.”

Teaching others about the love of God is more about that guiding spirit and clean heart. Where there is wholeness, others are drawn in. It’s what Saint Seraphim of Sarov meant when he said, “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.”

The example of mercy, kindness, and your own transformation is more powerful than the spoken word.

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