Hey there church family and friends - I hope your weekend was restful and that you're primed to make the best of this week ahead. I had this wonderful encounter in church yesterday that inspired today's blog and I believe that it will inspire you as well.
After church yesterday a wonderful member of our church came up to me and shared how much my voice has been a part of their life this past year between preaching, daily Bible readings, and with music like yesterday's service. (eeeee - never like singing, haha.) This person reflected how much voices have mattered to them during a time where the pandemic has only increased our reliance on email, text, and other social media message systems. Moved by her kindness I thought more on this yesterday and thought I would share those reflections with you.
Let's begin with an exercise. Grab a piece of paper and a writing instrument or your phone.
Got one? Great.
Write down - "I am loved".
How do you feel? Any different? Let's try something different.
Speak to yourself as loudly as you feel comfortable - "I am loved"
How do you feel? Any different?
Voices carry emotion far better than words do with their subtle inflections. Voices also carry power - they have the power to change us, move us, inspire us, far more than just words. Voices can help us to believe the things we write down. (I recognize I'm being a bit ablest to those who have lost their voices or who were born mute so I should clarify that our facial expressions can radiate the same amount of emotion as a normal voice could.)
What voices in your life carry the most meaning? It is your Spouse? Caregiver? Child? Pastor? Podcaster? News anchor? In your daily life you encounter probably about ~5 voices on a daily basis - which of these is most meaningful to you and why?
Which voices do you keep in memory? Do you ever turn on old VCR's of Mom or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa just to hear their voice again? Do you listen back to old voicemails where a mundane "call me back when you can" becomes the most sacred thing in your phone? I know for McKinsie she listens back to her moms last voicemail at least once a month and every time her eyes fill with tears.
In scripture God's voice is powerful, too. In the creation narrative of Genesis 1 God creates everything in the world not with His hands, but with His voice alone. God spoke it into existence. When God walked among the earth with us as Jesus he raised the little girl by simply speaking to her and telling her "to get up." I don't know what Jesus sounded like - no one does - but I imagine his voice to be soft and soothing, yet firm in the face of injustice. Similar to a parent standing up for their child.
As I type these words before closing my laptop in order to get some sleep for the night I sit in the silence of my home thinking about the voices that mean so much to me. Friends from high school and friends met recently, family members - some of which I haven't seen in years - and of course, many of you my dear sisters and brothers in Christ. I think of the sound of my mother's laughter when we both "get going" at one another poking fun, or the sound of my father passionately yelling at the browns over a heartbreaking loss like tonight's game, or the gentle sound of my sister's voice as she offers me wise counsel. Just now a small smile has crossed my face in the revelation that in great chorus of voices that surround us and support us are one of just many notes that make up the sound of God's voice. In all things God is present. All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manners of things shall be well. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Praying through Praise
When I think of hymns that have to do with voices I immediately began humming the tune of "In the Garden." A beloved hymn by many, and especially cherished by those that have had to mourn the loss of a loved one. Rev. Joyce always does a wonderful job tying this hymn in with funerals and giving us great imagery for the comforts that Christ provides in life and in life everlasting. "The voice I hear, falling on my ear, the son of God discloses. He walks with him and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own."
As you join in singing this hymn either in spirit or in song I hope you think of the voices in your life that have helped shape you and lift them up in a prayer of gratitude.