lectionary passages for Jan. 11, 2015. Gen.1:1-5, Psalm 29. Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11
I read these passages out loud, expressively. (Okay-yes, I was home alone at the time so it wasn't embarrassing!) Go some place where you feel uninhibited and then go for it. Try it-move your lips, raise your voice, even shout if the words inspire you that way.
These passages are meant for verbalization, for proclamation, for vibrant storytelling to groups around the fire, to crowds in a theatre, to families at supper, and to people in pews.
The opening lines of Genesis, read aloud in a actor's dramatic voice, are riveting. They invite me into the story and leave me wanting more. (I know this story, and I still wanted more!!)
I dare you to try to read Psalm 29 without raising your voice. Try it. Move your lips, raise your voice! Reading this one out loud causes the air to vibrate with an almost electrical feeling of power. You might notice the importance of repeated words and the rising currents of the stirring of your spirit in response.
Acts tells us that when some disciples in Corinth received the Holy Spirit, the first thing they did was speak! Again, here is the power of voice expressing and encouraging the vibrations of the soul.
Finally, in the Mark passage, John uses his voice too. He proclaims. (The word proclaim is used twice in verses 4-8, this is important stuff to speak out loud!) The hearers respond, and moved by the words they accept baptism as a sign of turning toward God. Jesus is one of them. When he is baptised, there is a VOICE. Words from heaven speak to him and God claims Jesus as beloved and pleasing. No silent contemplation here!
In our world of information, of email and twitter and texting, and snapchat, and recorded help lines, a real voice is refreshing. The voice of scripture, proclaimed aloud, is invigorating. Heard in community it might even be revitalizing.
Let's not always read our scripture silently by ourselves. Or in soothing monotones. Or in stumbling, unpracticed flatness. Or in a rushed babbling tangle of nervous syllables. Slow down. Move your lips, raise your voice, really hear the power of these stories!