Friday Fives: Five (More) Photos That Will Preach

The July 25 Friday Fives – Five Photos That Will Preach – received unprecedented response on So, it was an easy decision to make this week’s Friday’s Five the follow-up. Five More Photos That Will Preach. Thanks so much to the many that emailed about the first round. I don’t take readers for granted, knowing you have about a zillion websites you could be reading.

Advertising executive Fred Barnard is credited with saying, in 1927, “One picture (is) worth ten thousand words.” You may have heard it said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That may be even truer for those of us who communicate as a function of our ministries.

So here we go with part 2: These are photos I’ve kept in my Illustrations file because they indeed all “say” something. The only requirement for the list is a photo with significant meaning without the advantage of having been photoshopped or in some other way manipulated.

#5: Just When You Think You Know...

The photo at #5 demonstrates again the limitations of our knowledge as humans. We will never fully know God’s perspective if only because we cannot know the depths of His Wonder and the majesty and expanse of His Creative Hand.

The photo is known as “Hubble Ultra Deep Field” and was taken by NASA through the Hubble Telescope in 2003. The telescope was pointed at a spot that, as far as scientists knew, was virtually void. It didn’t just reveal the unknown, but what may be as many as 10,000 previously unknown galaxies.

One account described it this way: In 2003, the Hubble telescope pointed its lens at a small empty spot in the sky, creating the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image and giving us our farthest look into deep space. Before scientists pointed the Hubble at that patch of space, they honestly expected very little to be found out there. After they developed the slides, they realized that not only were they wrong, but they ended up finding an incredible amount of previously undiscovered phenomena. The knowledge gathered from this picture made it possible to observe the faintest galaxies in the universe, which would keep scientists busy for years. These galaxies were so distant and far away from us that we didn’t even know that they had existed before.



#4 Home

The photo at #4 on this week’s list is one of the 3 or 4 most famous photos from the Vietnam War. Called “Burst of Joy” and taken by AP Photographer Sal Veder, the photo actually captures a bittersweet moment. It was taken March 17, 1973 at Travis Air Force Base in California and shows Air Force Lt. Col Robert Stirm being reunited with his family after spending more than 5 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. That’s the Stirms’ 15 year-old daughter Lorrie with her outstretched arms.

Bittersweet? Yes. Three days before returning home, Colonel Stirm received a “Dear John” letter from his wife, Loretta, who is pictured. They divorced less than a year later.

The photo won Veder a Pulitzer Prize.


Sal Veder/Associated Press


#3 The Missionary

A piece originally entitled, “Uganda,” Mike Wells’ photo of a starving Ugandan boy’s hand in an American missionary’s was the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year in 1980. To me, the metaphors for preaching are many.


Mike Wells

#2 Turning the Other Cheek

The photo at number two seems to have even more meaning today than when it was originally shot by photographer Nevine Zaki on February 2, 2011. It depicts Christians joining hands to protect praying Muslims during the 2011 Egyptian uprisings. In the London Daily Mail piece in which it was featured the photographer is quoted:

“Bear in mind that this pic was taken a month after the Alexandria bombing where many Christians died in vain. Yet we all stood by each other.” The bombing, shortly after the New Year’s Day, killed 23 Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million person population. 


Nevine Zaki, London Daily Mail

#1: Missing You

I’ve never used this photo in my messages because, frankly, it stirs up too much emotion in me. If you’ve read leaderhelps very long you know that I am a former Marine with a big deep soft place in my heart for the men and women and their families who make such great sacrifices on the behalf of their fellow citizens. I don’t want these precious folks to ever be far from our thoughts and prayers.

The photo is of Thania Sayne as she leans on the headstone of her husband Timothy, the day before their wedding anniversary on October 16, 2013. Sgt Sayne, of Reno Nevada, was killed September 18, 2011 in an explosion in Afghanistan.


Manuel Balce Ceneta