Bethel United Methodist Church in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Although I’m not privy to your traveling plans, it does seem unlikely that you will ever make your way to darken the doors of this particular sanctuary. I did–just yesterday morning.
With a day that folks from Wisconsin would call “brisk” and those from South Carolina deemed “polar ice cap,” some very faithful locals gathered in the building to see what the weather and the road had brought to them via our humble efforts.
It started the day before, when Wally, Johnny and Collin arrived to help us set up, and all of my equipment, which had been sitting in the back of the van, tried to “fuzz out,” insisting it was Floridian. Overcoming those little missteps, we got all hooked up, and by Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit, resilient fellow that He is, arrived in a parka.
These are beautiful people. They are delightful human beings that the political parties take for granted, and the more snotty members of our society deem to be “simple.”
It’s a huge mistake. They are full of integrity; they have hearts which can be moved with the notion of a loving God, and after a considerable amount of time, they are even willing to embrace odd-looking strangers like Janet and myself.
As I sat and chatted with these adorable brothers and sisters, I was struck by a usable idea. All during my childhood and even in my adult years, I have been encouraged by society to “find my voice.”
Yes, “find your voice.”
But yesterday it struck me that this notion is the misconception that’s driving our problems into the ditch. People are trying very hard to find their own voice, and when all these individual voices speak together, what we have is” Tower of Babel II.”
Life is not about finding your voice–it’s about finding the voice.
The voice is humble, encouraging, respectful, open-minded, free of prejudice and also gentle and kind, with good cheer.
I suppose if you sat down all the people of Bethel United Methodist and had a political discussion, they might be at each other’s throats in three minutes.
That’s why we should never do that. We should take all things pertaining to government–“Caesar”–and let them stew in their own juices.
What we need to think about are the things that belong to God.
I’ve stopped trying to find my voice, and I’m looking for the voice. It is a voice that:
1. Encourages others.
2. Knows when to shut up.
3. Doesn’t repeat information unless there’s a personal experience.
4. Looks for a reason to be kind.
5. Quotes things that lift people up.
6. Refuses to accept complaining as natural.
7. Notices when things get better.
This morning I feel as joyous as a new baby colt. (They are joyous, aren’t they? I would think so.)
Because the good news is, I got to spend time with Wally, Johnny, Collin and the blessed souls of Bethel.
And the better news is, I got to practice once again finding The Voice instead of insisting on promoting mine.
Published by Jonathan Cring