ULS President’s Newsletter | Summer Term 2018-19
Volume I, Issue 6
Most of us have “lost our voice” at one time or another. For someone who preaches the Word, makes a special presentation, or teaches a class, that first tickle in the throat, then the hoarseness, then only a squeak or a croak is always a time of anxiety. I find myself reflecting on that experience (fortunately, not too frequent in my own career) when I think about the question of those in our society who are figuratively voiceless. In the Hebrew Scriptures, it is often the voice of the prophets that is unheard, or not so much unheard as ignored, often to the cost of a king or the wealthy Israelites of the time. For a preacher, a teacher, a student, or a staff member, I think that would be even worse than losing one’s voice entirely. Imagine beginning on a sermon you labored over, then looking up after a paragraph or two, and realizing that everyone in the congregation is chatting with their neighbor, or staring off into space.
Sadly, this is too often the experience of many in our society today. People who are not listened to, whose voices are silenced by violence or indifference, or who are simply ignored are especially vulnerable in our society, even in this age of electronic communication which has seemingly amplified everyone’s voice. The problem is that there are so many voices clamoring at such a fever pitch, it is sometimes impossible to hear the voices of those who deserve to be heard. How many poor families, minority groups, homeless individuals, or members of the LGBTQIA+ community are unheard when the voices of a very few echo so loudly? And it’s not just the voices of our oppressed brothers and sisters who are not heard, but the very voice of God that is drowned out in our banquet of idolatry, of commercialization, celebrity worship, tribal politics, and nonstop trivial entertainment.
Being the voice of the voiceless is an essential part of ministry. Jesus’ ministry was of healing, of table fellowship, but above all it was of words. Over and over again Jesus’ words speak for the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcast. The Beatitudes, his commandments in Matthew 5, illustrate his regard for the voiceless of his time as do his clear instructions to us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick and the prisoners, in Matthew 25:31-46.
We must be the voice of the voiceless; we must listen to those who feel that they are not being heard; and we must project the voice of God into the world, fearlessly expressing the Gospel message of love in our words, in our deeds, here at ULS and outside.
We must encourage the students we educate to be strong and effective voices as we send them into the world as church leaders and servants of God. To achieve this goal, we must first practice what we preach and teach.
Almighty God of justice and mercy, who spoke Creation into being, whose word was the very beginning of all things, help us to hear your voice amid the tumult of the world. Help us speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Help us listen to those whose small voices are often lost. And help us be still to hear you, and to let others speak. In the name of your son our savior Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
Significant Events and Updates
- Met with three current students and three alumni
- Had conversations with four faculty members
- Participated in meetings with the ULSEF Board of Directors
- Hosted a joint meeting of the Diversity Task Force and the Board of Trustees Diversity Committee
- Had lunch with the President of the Barnes Foundation