7 The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire.Psalm 29:7-11
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the woodlands bare.
In his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned, King forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
If we are honest, the Lord’s voice is competing with other voices in our lives. The voices of success, of getting, of blaming, of labelling, of trying to look better than we really are. It is the negative voices that are always the loudest. From the political places of power in Washington D.C., to the quiet streets of our neighborhood, we hear the voices echoing in our minds and hearts. We hear the voices shouting at us that tell us we are not good enough, not rich enough, not important enough, not influential enough. It is the language of not-enough—the language of scarcity and begins with how we see ourselves, but doesn’t stop there. It extends to how we see our neighbors.
These are the voices that shout out labels and lies given to us in the language of deceit and division. It is the language of confusion and chaos, of anxiety and fear, of false freedoms and false prophets, of injustice and ignorance, of pride and arrogance. It is the voice of the land of broken promises and it has a way of drowning out the voice of the Lord. Yet, there is beauty in our land of broken promises because the Lord’s voice is still heard. If the Lord is still heard, then the Lord is still near.
We know that the Lord’s voice is heard in the hymn of praise and the heart of prayer. We know that the Lord’s voice is heard in the guidance of the Holy Spirit within us and discernment of the Spirit’s voice in the community of God’s people. We know that the Lord’s voice is heard in the reading, meditation, and study of the sacred Scriptures and guidance by the Holy Spirit in the community of God’s people. We know the Lord’s voice in these ways. But do we know that the Lord’s voice is heard in the beauty of creation, in the changing of the leaves or the bird that sings? Do we know that the Lord’s voice is heard in the giving and receiving of words that encourage us and others, like telling those working the front lines of COVID “thank you”? Do we know that the Lord’s voice is heard in an act of kindness and compassion extended to a neighbor in need, like in the giving and receiving of a box of food? Do we know that the Lord’s voice is heard when the marginalized have voices that are no longer muted, the hurting and suffering of our neighbors is seen, and those who are weary are welcomed into our presence so they can find rest?
The Psalmist reminds us in this hymn of praise that the Lord still speaks, and when the Lord speaks it has the strength to cancel all others voices that tell us peace is not possible.
In this season of Advent we remember that it was the Lord’s voice coming to us in the cry of the Christ child that fulfilled the promises God made to God’s people, like the psalmist, and made to us new promises God intends to keep.
The peace of God is possible because the promises of God are faithful.
Holy Lord who still speaks, thank you for speaking to us. Thank you for your gentle whisper and when needed, your powerful shout. Open my ears that I may hear your voice. Open my eyes that I may follow where your voice leads. Yes Lord, may my eyes be your eyes, my ears be your ears, my mind be your mind, my mouth be your mouth, and my hands and feet be yours. In the name of the Christ who is our King, Amen.