I like to write my own scriptures. I guess we all do a bit of that when we choose the ones we like and ignore the others. I am certainly guilty as charged. But I am not referring to my propensity to pick and choose, but to the times I see a text that is not there, but I think should be.
I mentioned one recently in a post, ‘owning everything but possessing nothing’. I made that up but I think it is pretty biblical, and (sorry Paul) more relevant to me than his inspired version of ‘owning nothing but possessing everything’. It is kind of the reverse of what is there, or better the mirror image. So here is another one drawn from Heb. 11 (thanks to Priscilla?):
Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
I think the writer would be happy to have that Scripture applied to the others in Hebrews 11 also. The ongoing voice of those who lived by and died in faith. Faith has a voice for Paul says (good to quote a male voice to balance the female voice above?):
So the made up mirror text reads something like this:
They though alive are not speaking.
That first makes the Hebrew writer’s words very powerful. Having a voice though having died. Second, it puts in contrast the tragedy of not speaking.
The creative act began with, ‘and God said’. True speech is more than words, it is deeply personal. It comes from somewhere / someone. It carries somehow substance.
A number of years ago I was looking for a recording I had of something I had been teaching, to make a copy for someone. I found the box, the disks were not labelled and I pulled out the one I thought was the right one. I pushed play. It wasn’t me on the recording, but Sue. She had passed away a year or so earlier. I instantly knew her voice, and her ‘presence’ filled the room. It was one of the most scary memories I have to date (and sacred memories too).
The sheep follow him because they know his voice (Jn. 10:4). The voice that brings the presence, the substance of God.
The first prophet in Scripture that Jesus refers to was Abel (Lk. 11:50,51). Yet Abel did not prophesy as far as we have it recorded. He spoke… His life, his actions they spoke.
He (they) being dead still speak. The list in Hebrews does not record what they said, but it does record that they spoke.
It is possible to say things, oh ever so possible to say so, so much. To say so many good, biblical words, to be extremely clever, even wise… But to speak? Maybe that is what we need to learn. To stop talking and to speak.
I seem to have, as far as we can test, a sound discrimination issue. This is not a lack of hearing, but a difficulty, a confusion in distinguishing what I hear. True physically which is a bit of a bug in the system when it comes to language. A while back I was listening to a recording in Spanish and a person said a common phrase, ‘todos las veces’ (every time). It made no sense to me so I played it back four times and eventually asked Gayle why are they using a phrase that means nothing in this context, ‘all the mushrooms’ (todas las setas)!!!
But what is a much bigger system bug is not to discriminate what we hear from heaven. God speaks and my discrimination is such that I repeat ‘mushrooms’! No answers in the comments please as to how many times I have done that!
The lasting impact of speech, true speech is presence. When I heard Sue’s voice it was her substance, who she was that impacted me. When God speaks it is the substance / presence of God that is the lasting impact.
There is a reason why there are those who have died but still speak. It is to do with their substance. There is a reason why there are those who are alive but do not speak. It is tied to their substance, who they are.
Light came from a voice. Substance came from the source of all substance, the speech was simply the bridge it came across.
Words can be cheap. True speech is not cheap. It comes from the substance of a life.
So I like to make up my own scriptures. I think one might even be biblical. I think Priscilla would approve.