Why am I, Eric Brown, given to speak? Why am I called by God to open up my mouth? Why me, when I have a speech impediment?
I just finished watching, for the first time, the movie "The King's Speech" -- fantastically well shot and well acted. And it touches a bit close to home. When I think of my earliest memories of school, I actually think of the speech therapy sessions, where I would be pulled out of class and head down the hallway to another little room and work on my "r" sounds. Which, the vast majority of time now actually sounds like an r. No, now it's the lateral lisp, the side effect of a palate that needed to be expanded leading to a tongue that doesn't quite fit my mouth right.
And yet, here am I. A preacher.
Why am I given to speak? Why not someone better, more accomplished, more refined? Someone with a more resonant voice and diction clear and clean as can be? Why am I given to speak?
Because, when it boils down to it, *I* am not important. The things in the church, they are not about me, nor my qualities. Yes, I work on my diction, and I even hope in improves... yet whether I am clearer now than I was 8 years ago or whether I'm not... that isn't the point. *I* am not important.
O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
God is the One who is important. He is the One who has done it all; who takes the fallen, the frail, the ones cursed by sin and broken and betrayed by their own flesh, and out of His great love takes on flesh Himself, becomes a curse Himself, is Himself broken and betrayed and dies. And Christ Jesus will be praised - the salvation He has won will be proclaimed. Lips will be opened. Eyes will see... whether blind, or terribly near-sighted, or closed by death, they shall see, and we shall rejoice.
I sit here and type, thinking and reflecting on all the theological back and forth I see, I am part of. I see the social causes, the culture wars, the cries for improving this or progressing there. I feel the pull of my own ego and flesh call out for not just mere recognition, but power, glory, success - the creation of enemies that I would then trounce and show my superiority over. And I see the times when I am hung up like a scarecrow to be made the convenient straw-man for another. It's the way of flesh in this world. And as I type, as I sub-vocalize in my head the thoughts and words that I want wield to exert... they are clean and precise... and so often they are words of death. Clean, pristine words of death. Death of my neighbor. Death of my own self by damnable pride.
And then I actually have to say something. Gone is the sub-vocalization, the false perfection that my mind tells me is my own. And the lisp lingers, and sometimes even the old wough ways of not speaking wight pop out. And I hear it. The law ensconced upon my tongue, echoing into my ears, reminding me of my own sinfulness, my own mortality.
Irony. I can't even properly say "progress". What hope could I ever place there?
And yet, here I am. A preacher. Not because I will myself to preach, to proclaim. Oh, Lord, open Thou my lips, that I may declare the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus for you, for me. Open my lips, that the very Body and Blood of Christ may be placed upon my troublesome tongue, that my sins be removed and atoned for. The Spirit and the Bride say come - God grant that He open my lips in His service to declare His praise and invitation, and nothing else, evermore!