Friday, October 28, 2011

Who IS that Voice?

Who IS That Voice?

Soon many of us will open our front doors to characters we do not recognize and hand them treats! In my daughter’s neighborhood, where they have over 200 customers, the trick or treater must DO a trick to earn the treat! So kids sing a song, recite a poem, do a gig or ask a riddle. The challenge is to look surprised when you’ve heard the most popular riddle about 43 times!

Do you notice how, especially if you know the child, [he’s maybe your own] and you say, “Who IS this character? Let me guess!” and you come up with all the wrong answers…finally, when you say his name, off comes the mask or out comes the smile to reward your efforts! Our 4 year old Brooks was all dressed up one Halloween and I could not “guess” this little guy’s name. After a minute, from behind the mask came the whisper, “Listen to my voice, mom!”

Our voice identifies us. On our family cottage telephone I kept one special voicemail for four years. It was my dad’s voice with good news following cataract surgery at age 91! [Mind you, he did not wear glasses and was still reading maps with over- the-counter half- glasses.] My kids think it’s weird that I play this message now and then. The message isn’t profound. It’s simply, “Hi Phyl. It’s Daddy, around 3 o’clock. I’m now back to perfect eye sight. I have a certificate from the doctor that I don’t have to take my driver’s test. I don’t need to wear glasses. So, back to square one. Now if we can just get the body working a little faster, we’d be in great shape! Isn’t the Lord great! Thanks. Love ‘ya. Talk to you later!” I treasure the sound of his voice, which was silenced when he was called “home” to heaven several months later in his sleep.

What is it about a voice that’s so special? You know what I mean. Our voices are unique, so much so that research reveals our “voiceprint” to be as unique as our fingerprint! The implications of that are huge. One day we’ll probably be able to access bank accounts, activate engines and who knows what else with our one-of-a-kind voice. This begs the question, what do you do with the power of your unique voice? Do you bring comfort, speak encouraging words, speak the truth?

The next question is,TO whose voice do you listen? In this swirling political season, voices call to us to do this and think that. If you’re an election junkie you probably hear those voices in your sleep! Whether in politics or in real life, we want to discern whose voice speaks truth, to know who is worth following. It’s a tough choice for some and an easy choice for others. It’s the same in the family, in the neighborhood, at the office. Voices can beckon, urge, sometimes annoy and anger or motivate and inspire us.

Speaking of voices, the Book of John quotes Jesus talking about a voice, namely His own when He refers to Himself as The Good Shepherd. Those who follow Him and live out His teachings are called “sheep.” You’ve heard the song, “I am Jesus little lamb…!” Same deal. Jesus makes a point in the 10th chapter about how His “sheep” know His voice and won’t be led astray by beckoning voices that are not His. Here’s the exact quote. “My sheep know my voice. The watchman opens the gate for him [the shepherd], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

It’s important to follow the right voice to keep from going astray. Get the tie-in with our voiceprint that’s as unique as our fingerprint? It’s recognition! Brooks tells me at age 4 from behind his mask, “Listen to my voice, mom!” He knew I‘d recognize him then! My dad’s 91 year old voicemail still reminds me of who he was, what he stood for, how much he loved our family and how faithfully he followed The Good Shepherd.

Your voice is truly a gift. You use it to lead, to follow, to rebuke and to lift up. The bigger question is, how does your voice respond to The Good Shepherd Who calls you by name? Can you hear Him saying, “Listen to my voice. Come to me, you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Do you recognize His voice from all the others? You will when you get to know Him. My son reminded me I knew his voice. I recognize my dad’s voice because we walked together this side of heaven all my life, one way or another. Walking with Jesus is like that. He draws you close through his Word, His Sacraments and through others who know Him. It’s how you literally hang out with Jesus, as He brings Himself, His protection, His wisdom, His life-saving Grace to you!

Who’s voice IS it? No costume can hide it. No others can be as authentic. When you hear His voice, it’s safe to follow!

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