Can You Hear Me?

By Pastor Kali Freels

When I was in highschool, I participated in color guard of the marching band, dancing with flags, rifles, and sabres while the band played during the halftime show at football games. Each halftime show centered around a theme – jazz, historical events, myths and legends. If you can imagine it, it can be a show. One of my favorite shows my high school marching band did was “Flight of the Phoenix.” Through the music, flag colors, and choreography, we depicted the life cycle of the fire bird:  life, death, and resurrection from the ashes. While the band played music inspired by that theme, the color guard members were miniature phoenixes. Our costumes were various shades of red, including the red feathers in our hair. But even with the themed costumes, it was hard for us to really look like phoenixes. How do we portray the life of a phoenix to our audience?

We asked our instructor and his answer surprised most of us. “You are the performers to the deaf. They should be able to look at how you all perform and know what the show is about, even though they can’t hear the music.” We had to move like phoenixes, nimble and light on our feet, like we were flying. We had to be sorrowful when the phoenix died and spry when it came back to life. Looking like phoenixes wouldn’t suffice; we had to be phoenixes.

And just like a red costume doesn’t make you a phoenix, looking like Jesus isn’t enough. We have to express Jesus in our actions, so that even those who can’t hear our words will see Christ. We have to speak the love of Christ so that even those who can’t see our actions will hear Christ. We have to share Jesus in our embrace so that even those who can’t see or hear can feel Christ in our touch. Looking like Jesus or sounding like Jesus won’t be enough; we have to be like Jesus.

We live in a time when we don’t listen each other. We stand on opposite sides and shout our opinions at each other instead of embrace one another with God’s love. We’re so busy yelling that we’ve stopped showing love in our actions, reserving all our energy for raising our voices instead of dialoguing with one another. We’ve become deaf to one another, so caught up in the theology of pointing fingers that we’ve forgotten the Christ that told the self-righteous to drop their stones.

In a world that is becoming increasingly deaf to one another, we must share Christ’s love so that even those who cannot hear us know what the message is about.