|"Purple Background Spin"|
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Araceli Arroyo. Source: Flickr
As an extrovert, I know that I enjoy connecting and communicating with people. I like engaging in discussions, and healthy dialogue. I like to learn things, to share things, to convey my experiences with words. I am talkative; at times verbose.
I have a voice.
So to suggest giving up silence may seem somewhat odd to those who know me well. However, I am not suggesting that the world will benefit from e talking more; what I am proposing is that I use my voice to give up silence.
I have a voice. I know I bear some privilege (I'm white, educated, cis-gendered heterosexual Anglophone - I could go on). And so with that privilege, I have opportunity and responsibility to use my voice to ensure that others are not silenced.
We may not realise how often the folks we interact with feel silenced; for whatever reason. But everyone has a voice; everyone has a story; everyone has something to contribute to the narrative of our lives; everyone has a part to play in sharing the Gospel. Everyone has a voice.
A few years ago, I witnessed an amazing women use her voice to challenge an injustice. My friend lives in a conflict zone where Christians are a minority; she does not often have a voice and more often is encouraged to keep silent. However, when the opportunity arose for her to challenge an injustice, she took it. Her voice shook, her body trembled; but she overcame her own discomfort to raise a voice for those even more silenced than herself.
I was so proud to be beside my friend as she used her voice for the common good. I was so grateful that the others of us in the room, who bear privilege, had chosen silence in that moment to allow her voice to be shared, and to encourage other minority voices to do likewise.
I was also aware that for the voices that we did hear, there were others that remained silenced - for a multitude of reasons.
So I propose we give up silence for Lent: that we use our voices to speak our truth; that we use our privilege to create safe space for others to speak their truth; that we use our voices to acknowledge the voices that are as yet silenced.
There is good news to share. And if we stay silent, even the stones will cry out. So may we use our voices to bring the light of God into the darkness of the world.