Then God spoke all these words: – Exodus 20:1 (NRSV)
Can you imagine? Hearing the divine voice speak the Ten Commandments and then chapter after chapter of ordinances, laws, proclamations, and edicts designed to help the children of God live in harmony, happiness, and holy union?
Whether or not you believe it happened that way—a big, booming Hollywood-type voice dictating detailed instructions to a frazzled Moses high atop a mountain—it’s interesting to think about.
Because the voice changes everything. Its tone provides clarity and emotion the written word cannot. Its tenor summons our attention.
More than anything else, though, the voice is unique and personal. Speaking with someone builds connection. Whether spoken words are whispered or shouted, they are immediate and intimate.
When someone we love is losing their voice, we will strain to make out every syllable. When we read something written by someone we love, we will hear the words in their voice. When someone we love is no longer with us, we will listen to those saved voicemails again and again.
What does the voice of God sound like? And what about the voice of Jesus? Would we be more likely to follow his way if we had heard it and still knew it? The writer of the Gospel of John seemed to think so. The sheep follow the good shepherd because they know his voice, Jesus said.
What, or whose, voice do you hear when you read scripture? Is it tender or harsh, close or distant? Does it echo with authority, or does it open your heart with the gentle warmth of a lover?
Listen closely for the still-speaking voice of the God who loves you more than life itself.
Speak them over again to me, wonderful words of life.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.