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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)

TITLE: "Isn't The Pastor Going To Say Anything?"
By Nathan Perkins


I had been preaching on a borrowed voice for about 9 months. It was not very inspirational for the congregation to have to listen to the odd inflections of a human analogue of my voice. Even though I was able to borrow a voice so similar to my own real voice, there is no real way to express the human inflections with a computer keypad.

I had been frustrated for those nine months. But it was better then giving up a pulpit altogether just because I could not speak.

I was typing to preach.

Today, when I started to type out the words that I wanted to portray to the congregation I found that I was wordless.

Even though I have poured massive amount of effort into figuring out how to get the most out of this borrowed voice, I still seemed to be without any words.

I had a sermon and I had practiced it. I created ways to make it interesting. But when it was time to preach that sermon, it seemed that God would not only hold my tongue from speaking. He also held my fingers from typing. In that moment, God would not let me say anything. I was sitting there in front of the computer and I was unable to proceed.

Embarrassment and shame crept over me. I felt as if I had failed the congregation because I could not deliver the goods to them on this particular morning. They had endured a series of months were I preached without my own voice. But today, I was there with the congregation and I had a borrowed voice but I still could not use it. I could not use either my own voice or the voice that I had set up to use over the computer.

Anticipation among the congregants grew and grew. Their waiting turned into listening. It was as if we all were expecting something together.

In our waiting we heard something.

We heard Godís voice!

In the past we had heard his words through songs and my passionate preaching. We had come to know his word very well. We came to recognize the word of God whenever we heard it. We have even come to know the presence of God and the hand of God has touched all of us at one point or another but this time we were privileged to hear his actual voice.

There is no real way to describe the voice of God. It is so marvelous and so mysterious. It is not sounds we heard. That is exactly the point. The soundlessness revealed the thunder, lightning, earthquake and consuming fire in Godís voice. Still and small. But so huge.

O Voice of God

O, Voice of God so small.

So small that I feel that I can reach you, grasp you and even contain you somehow.

O voice like thunder.
I canít be where you strike or I will die.

O, voice of flashing light
My eyes are blinded by seeing things that are not possible to see without you.

I see racing pictures and the brilliance of your surprise in an instant. I feel that the flash has opened a package that contains the whole existence.

O, shivering earth.
Do you move such beneath my feet because even you are demanded to bow in reverence before our maker? Do you shake or is it simply the incredible trembling that Godís nearness causes my heart to do?

I am anticipating something as my emotion and senses are peaked in the static of a thunder prepped sky.

I am incapable of bracing myself against the quake of moving earth. I look for a footing and something to grasp.

Then I see fire in every direction. It is an all consuming fire. There is nothing that will remain. Even I am not meant to endure these flames.

There can be nothing left but a barren landscape, a runway, where the breeze can play, where the tiniest voice can be hard without an obstruction.

It is a small voice. It is all that is left after wind, lightning, and fire. But it is also all that is necessary.

And I can hear Godís voice!

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This article has been read 544 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 10/11/07
God certainly has His own agenda. Very nice...
LauraLee Shaw10/11/07
Sometimes the only time we can hear God is when our own voices are quiet. Liked hearing it from this perspective....
Debbie Wistrom10/11/07
I enjoyed this piece very much, and I feel you have more to say, dratted 750 limit!
Dianne Janak10/11/07
Powerful... great title.. great story.. inspiring lesson and creatively written... thank you.
julie wood10/11/07
I enjoyed this story--an intriguing experience! Am curious as to why the pastor can't speak (what his condition is).

In paragraph 4, the word "portray" should be "convey."

Beautifully vivid descriptions of God's voice.

Great title--it really sparked my curiosity!
Jan Ackerson 10/12/07
Extremely intriguing--and the last half is quite moving.

A few things--the title doesn't do this piece justice--you want something much more lyrical for a piece that ends so beautifully. Also, the situation (a mute pastor, an electronic voice) is so unusual that the first time through, the reader is a bit preoccupied with finding out what's wrong with him. If you just let us know right away, then we can concentrate on your wonderful story.
Joanne Sher 10/12/07
Very creative entry - love the ending. A bit of polish in the beginning could strengthen this even more. Great writing.
c clemons10/12/07
Good writing 'nuff said.
Beckie Stewart10/13/07
I was interested and captivated during this entire reading. I was wondering how the pastor lost his speech for 9 months, but found the wonder of God's plan wonderful.
william price10/14/07
Very, very nice. You kept my attention to the very end, but I still have an unanswered question. Was somebody reading his typed sermons, or did he put them on a screen or something? And how come he couldn't talk? BUT, in the end, the conclusion was so moving and anointed it didn't matter. I always love when God takes over. Good job! God bless.
Janice Cartwright10/15/07
I too would have appreciated more specific information at the beginning. Actually I think the lyrical part could stand alone as the still small voice of God.
darlene hight10/17/07
This piece is intriguing and inspiring. I love the description of God through his voice. You made His indescribableness almost descriptive :>
Dee Yoder 10/18/07
Love the last half. The imagery contained in that little poem is very beautiful. You sure did craft an unusual piece for this challenge. The poetry could easily stand alone; it's very expressive!