Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Lent, Day 8: he began to speak
At least 9 months of not talking. There was obviously some kind of communication between Zechariah and Elizabeth, but no talking. Not since Gabriel had left him dumb at the temple.
What would happen to you if you couldn't speak? Practically speaking, since I don't know sign language, I can envision lots of negatives. I would not be able to work (though I am sure some of my students might like the idea of me being mute). I would not be able to help as much with parenting. I wouldn't be able to say "I love you" to my boys or to my wife, at least not in the way I'm accustomed.
Still, there might be some good in my not talking. I find I use talking to hide my feelings as much as to express them, and to cover areas where I have uncertainty or feel inadequate. What's more, I find talking keeps me from listening – I even sometimes talk so I don't have to listen. Not being able to speak might cause me to listen more, might help me to value an honest word shared carefully as opposed to words used too liberally and for ill gain.
It might be that if I couldn't speak (or spoke less at least), I might have something of substance to say when I did speak.
Zechariah spent many months watching and listening and wondering (and, again, performing some domestic responsibilities). When his son was finally born and he signed off on the name Elizabeth was putting forward, Zechariah suddenly found his voice…"Immediately, his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God."
(Photo: My son Paul singing praises on the sea of Galilee)