Signs and sounds

Psalm 29; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Have you not known? Have you not heard? asks Isaiah. Those with ears to hear, let them hear, says Jesus. Day to day pours forth speech, says the psalmist, but God’s speech is pitched in such a register that many cannot distinguish it from silence.

In the sacraments we strain to recognize a divine word, even if it has to be mediated through the preacher’s voice. At the baptismal waters, parents hear how the heavens opened above Jesus, the Spirit of God descended on him in the form of a dove, and a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.” They hear this readily because they too are well pleased with their children and have come to hear this love ratified.


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