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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