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The Voice

January 1, 2018

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1: 1, 3).

The Scripture lessons this week hearken back to the beginning of time as we begin a new year, reminding us of the power of God’s voice to generate and to regenerate—to create and to re-create—to reform us, to change us.[1]  This meditation is not about the televised singing competition, The Voice.  It is about The Voice—God’s Voice.

Moses recounts the power of God’s voice to create: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . . And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1: 1, 3).  The power of God’s voice to create is evident in the first three verses of the Bible. We have a tendency to skip over the fact that God spoke creation into being.  Our computing devices will transcribe our spoken words into a writing, or turn on the lights or appliances in our homes.  But human beings will never be able to speak a sun or a moon into existence. God’s words literally lit up the world.  He brought light to a dark world. Let him bring light into the darkness of your life this year.

John begins his Gospel by describing the Word as God’s agent of creation, the source of God’s message to his people: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made . . . “   John 1:1-3.  God not only spoke light into existence—he spoke all of creation into existence.  His Voice not only created the sun and the moon, but also the sky, the land, the stars, all plant life, and all living creatures (Genesis 1: 3-25).

David gives us seven separate examples of the power of God’s voice: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters . . . powerful . . . majestic . . . breaks the cedars . . . strikes with flashes of lightening . . . shakes the desert . . . twists the oaks and strips the forests bare” (excerpts, Psalm 29: 3-9). Not only is the Lord’s voice powerful, but “The Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29: 10 b-11). God is not dead and he is not going away. He who has the power to speak creation into being is the King of the universe forever.  Imagine–the God of the universe who spoke light into our dark world, the Alpha and Omega, the eternal God, cares about you and me.

The Voice was present at Jesus’ baptism: “Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1: 10-11). This King, who was present at Jesus’ baptism was present at your baptism, and will continue to renew you and give you strength. The same Voice is present for you today through his Word and through the Holy Spirit.

Paul tells us that we are brought into the family of God through the Sacrament of Baptism.  We are resurrected through our baptism to a new life with Christ: ”Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life . . . Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6: 3-4, 8).

God doesn’t only reveal himself in the powerful and miraculous ways as he did when he created the world, as he does in nature, or as he did at Jesus’ baptism.  He revived, renewed, and regenerated us at our baptism.  Jesus cleansed us in the Sacrament of Baptism, and brought us into new life with him.  The Voice spoke to our souls at our baptism to regenerate us.  We were born anew.  And the Voice still speaks to us today, to strengthen and to encourage us. We experience God as we mediate on his Word. We hear God’s voice in our hearts and souls—the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19: 12) that Elijah heard after fleeing to Mount Horeb. Listen for The Voice.  Hear it in God’s Word.  Write it on the walls of your heart.  Let it sink deeply into your soul.  Let it refresh and renew you.  God’s voice, that calmed the storm, will calm your soul.  One way to connect with God is by praying the centuries-old Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  Amen.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Baptism of Our Lord are Genesis 1: 1-5; Psalm 29; Romans 6: 1-11; Mark 1: 4-11.

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