When Speech Becomes Praise

You are divinely composed to speak. It’s not only what you say but that you say that’s part of who you are.

As we see in the Gospels, muteness and speech impediments are grounds for healing as much as any physical and spiritual ailment brought before Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark tells us about one such case involving a deaf and stammering man. Though he wasn’t mute his speech was impeded and he was brought to Jesus to be healed.

The account tells us that when he was brought to Jesus he took the man aside. He placed his fingers in his ears, touched his tongue, looked up to heaven and uttered “Be opened!”

I like how some translations phrase what happened after, saying the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was loosed.

Those words create a picture of nothing less than emancipation. Emancipation connected with speaking. One freedom signifying the other.

(What is emancipation without speaking?)

And that same tongue, now set free, I believe, gave praise.

(What is emancipation without praise?)

You Have the Right to Speak

Speech is a birthright. It is your divine inheritance. You were “fearfully and wonderfully made” with the apparatus of speech.

I hesitate to wonder what trauma or brokenness causes someone to abandon such a powerful part of their humanity.

Is it not so much boldness, but boldness and brokenness, or boldness as brokenness, that converts silence into speech?

Breaking Open

In 2011 a film called Pariah was released, and in its final moments the main character recites a beautiful poem (written by the film’s writer and director Dee Rees) that powerfully speaks to her story. A part of the poem says:

For even breaking is opening
And I am broken
I’m open
Broken to the new light without pushing in
Open to the possibilities within, pushing out
See the love shine in through my cracks?
See the light shine out through me?
I am broken
I am open
I am broken open

I wonder if – in the muting pain, injury, trauma, or suffering – seeing brokenness as openness is where boldness is broken open into speech.

Breaking, by its very act, is opening. It is passage, sometimes many passages. And in these openings, as the poem says, are new lights, opportunities and possibilities. Brokenness is that bold space of new creation.

As the poet puts it, you can break to something just as you open to something.

And what if, in this broken opening, is where speech begins? And what if that speech, as it is loosened, is indistinguishable from praise?