Marcia Laycock is the mother of three, caregiver to two golden retreivers and a six-toed cat. Her devotionals have been widely published and she won the Best New Canadian Christian Author award for the novel, One Smooth Stone, in 2006
We were watching the portrayal of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. The actors depicted the Biblical characters with skill and the performance to that point had been flawless. Then a woman ran to a prominent place on the set before us. She was agitated and called out to Jesus, waving her arms to get his attention. The actor playing the Saviour turned and began to walk toward her. She continued to gesture and talk rapidly.
It was at that point that I realized there was something different about the way in which the woman was speaking. The other actors seemed to have no problem projecting their voices in the natural amphitheatre, but this woman’s words were muffled and clipped, as though she wasn’t quite finishing them. Then she began to move her hands as she spoke and I realized her voice sounded different because she had a hearing impairment. I hadn’t expected to see a deaf person acting in the Passion Play, and it made me sit up and take notice.
As Jesus came within a few feet of her, he was facing the audience and his voice boomed out toward us. Then he did something that took my breath away. As he spoke, he began to sign the words. As the woman signed back, I was stunned by the beautiful simplicity of it, an act of communication so quick and efficient. But I was also stunned to think that Jesus was so readily able to respond in like manner. Again, I was taken by surprise.
But then I thought, how fitting, how perfectly right, that Jesus would respond in that way. His desire is to communicate with us and He so often uses whatever we are familiar with. He speaks to us in our language, with our accent, even with our choice of words. He uses modern day media and the physical world in which we live. All we have to do is open our ears and listen, open our eyes and see.
The writer of Hebrews quoted the Old Testament Prophets when he said –“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” (Heb 3:7&8). Unfortunately we all have done so. We fail to hear Him, even though He takes every occasion to speak to us. We fail to see His hand at work, even though he performs miracles every day. We have become deaf and blind and too often, dumb.
The good news is that it is never too late to hear, never to late to see, never too late to speak. God’s mercy and grace have no limits in time. They are always available to us, making it possible to respond.
Let me end with the words Jesus spoke long ago – “He who has ears, let him hear” Matthew 11:15).