3rd September 2021

This week I have lost my voice. For two days I have had no voice at all. A slight croak was all I could manage. Then it began to ease, but honestly it’s not much better several days on. I am extremely grateful to Rachel for taking on a funeral at very short notice, and to Ken for taking on a service; and I expect in a few days to have completely recovered (not Covid 19 related; I’ve taken several tests; each one has been negative).

Apart from the occasional heavy cold and the accompanying sore throat, losing my voice is not something I’ve ever had to contend with before. It’s very odd – and (I’m not looking for sympathy) a bit scary for a preacher – after all, without a voice I am not much use, anyway.

Voices are unique, of course. In fact ‘finding your voice’ is a way of saying what must happen to most of us; finding that unique expression of our personality, gifts and inspiration that we all need. The poet’s ‘voice’ is that unique something that distinguishes their work from another’s.

In the Bible God speaks. Jesus is the Word. The Holy Spirit prays for us ‘with sighs too deep for words’. Sometimes not even the clearest voice can say all that needs to be said. The cross has been called ‘God’s raid on the inarticulate’ – on what cannot be said – the profoundest feelings of grief, loss, indeed of being human – these things go quite beyond what we can say about them. At the point where our voice gives out – when we can’t say anything… God.

Michael Docker