Looking back as I prepare to enter a new decade of my life, I am proud of some of the ways I have used my voice: to sing, praise, pray, affirm, encourage, support, and advocate for others. I am also ashamed of the ways I have used my voice: sarcasm, spoken impulsively, interrupted, gossiped, whined, sulked in silence, ridiculed, demeaned, blamed, and attempted to manipulate others.
Scripture mirrors this humanness, this destructive and positive use of our voices. Abraham lies or directs Sarah to lie in order to save his own skin (Genesis 12:11-13, 20:2). Jacob lies to cheat his brother, Esau, out of Isaac’s blessing (Genesis 27). Abraham dares to speak to God on behalf of the righteous (Genesis 18:16-33).
In Peace is Every Step, spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, invites us to use our voices in order to understand one another. We might ask our partner or our child, “Do I understand you well enough?” and invite them to teach us: “Help me understand you better.” When we truly understand, we cannot help but love.
This message is excerpted from “Tuning our voices together” by Bev Stratton in the June 2019 Gather magazine. Today is Flag Day. Today we commemorate Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379; Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, c. 385; Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, c. 389; and Macrina, teacher, c. 379.
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