A few weeks ago I was attending a conference, and I was standing in a
hotel ballroom that was trying its best to look like a worship space. I
was surrounded by people singing loudly praises to God who was clearly deserving. The problem? I had no voice. I was not feeling well at all. The day before my throat was scratchy, but when I woke up and tried to sing, I could not even get a note out. For this Pastor, singing in worship holds deep meaning. It is when I truly feel connected to God.
But in that moment? I felt isolated and alone. Sure, I did not have a singing voice, but I felt like my connection to the Holy One went with it…
Have you ever lost your voice? I’m talking about more than just when
your scratchy throat kept you from speaking. Have you ever felt unheard, isolated, and alone?
The Christmas story begins with Zechariah, the spouse of Elizabeth,
learning that his wife was pregnant, losing his voice. Zechariah was trying to process the God story unfolding around him and his voice was
gone. In this season, there are lots of voices that are competing for our attention. The voices of individuals, ideals, political parties, and theological identities are all trying to speak over each other, dominating with their volume.
But do we listen for those whose voices are gone? To the voices of those who are oppressed? To the voices of those whose voices have been taken from them?
Ultimately, Zechariah’s voice is restored when he declares in writing that his son’s name will be John. He and Elizabeth have stood together and have named their child according to God’s plan, and the people listened. And what is the first thing that Zechariah uses his voice for?
Perhaps instead of ignoring, mocking, and victimizing the voiceless we
can find a way to hear them and proclaim God’s hope. Because I believe that when they speak, we will be surprised by the praise of our deserving God that we are led into.