The Gift of Laryngitis

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Today was my first experience of laryngitis. It was odd trying to have a meeting on the phone this morning with my board chairman…he did all the talking and I did all the listening; the meeting didn’t last very long without my input on our most important topics. It was especially uncomfortable attending a significant lunch meeting downtown with some key supporters of our ministry and I had to rely on my colleagues to speak for me. Later in the day I was on skype with our senior vice president and whispered each of my contributions to the discussions. Dinner with my wife was enjoyable, mostly because our love was shared by making the meal together and enjoying one another’s companionship even with our limited verbal interactions.

 

I can only imagine what it was like when God allowed Zechariah to wait for the birth of his son John in silence. He questioned with disbelief the angel Gabriel’s birth announcement, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” For the next nine months he would serve his priestly role without words, using sign language and writing out his words. When the child was born and prepared for his circumcision both Elizabeth and Zechariah declared his name would be John. Then Zechariah’s voice returned. And he praised God. His soul must have been bursting with anticipation of the day he could voice his devotion once more.

 

What followed was the song of his heart, as he declared his praise to God as one filled up with the Holy Spirit. “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people…he has raised up a horn of salvation…to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant…in holiness and righteousness…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 67-79).  Out from his months of silence, his words were laced with praise.

 

Did Zechariah experience community, prayerfulness and worship amidst his muted months without words? I’m convinced the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Why? Because it’s absolutely amazing how much community and depth of soul can be experienced without saying many words. Try going for a full day without verbally expressing yourself and instead devote the day to pondering, reflecting, wondering, and noticing. It’s amazing what you’ll see, hear, taste, smell and touch as if for the very first time.  Let your senses come alive in God and then give him all the glory, honor and praise.

 

Behold the abundant life of God, but today do so without words. Believe that the spiritual life is something far deeper than the noisy world around you. Belong to those who’ve been silenced for a while in order to contemplate God more deeply. Become a person who experiences the Triune God in all the richness of fellowship and with all your senses coming alive from the inside out. Wait upon the Lord, even if it means a lot more silence along the way. Praise be to the Lord, who has come so that we can have fullness of life now and for all eternity.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.