A few years ago, I did a wedding at the William B. Reily Memorial University United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. That is a long name for a church. University UMC is located on the LSU campus. I had to be on my best behavior, so I suspended the wearing of my Alabama Crimson Tide tie. The LSU campus is really a beautiful place, and this church was a magnificent setting for a wedding. Inside the sanctuary the walls and the posts were all brick. The only carpet in the place was down the center aisle.
During the rehearsal I became aware of the great acoustics in the room. At a wedding the preacher needs to give various instructions to the couple. Those instructions don’t need to be heard by the congregation. The nice wedding coordinator showed me the microphone I was to wear for the wedding. It was a one button monster. There is this microphone brand that all churches have bought their pastor. It has one button, which means you must hit that button just right to mute it or turn it off. A preacher needs a muted microphone on Sunday morning, especially if he or she needs to “turn aside” for a moment. I always remember the advice of Dr. Doug McGuire, “Enter the pulpit with a full heart and an empty bladder.” The fear of all preachers with that one button microphone is just what you suspect it is.
I told the nice wedding coordinator that I thought my voice was “big enough” to be heard the next night without amplification. She said, “But this place will be packed, and you will want all the visitors hearing you.” I told her not to worry about that. In High School I was the quarterback, so I have learned to make my voice heard over a crowd.
The next night, the wedding ceremony began with the words, “Friends we are gathered here this evening in the presence of our family and friends and in the presence of God….” I want you to know that my voice did just fine in that big room. As a matter of fact, I started enjoying my own voice. As you can imagine in a big room with lots of hard surfaces, there was a nice echo…echo…echo. I am easily distracted and soon I was distracted listening to this echo. I even slowed down my usual speaking pace so the echo could fade before I said the next line.
It was a great microphone free wedding.
You guessed it; I’m going to tell you that your words still echo in the minds, hearts, and souls of those to whom you speak. Speak gracious and kind words because those words never die out. They carry power way beyond the time the ears hear them.
Jesus said that it wasn’t what we take into our bodies that defile us; it was what comes out of our mouths. Speak wisely, there is an echo!
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