Summary: A Grandparents Day sermon calling us to listen to the voices of Wisdom, as she reveals experience and tradition.
Voices, soft, loud, sultry, or brash, they are all around us. Whose voices capture our attention? Do those strange little voices which roam around within our heads lure us? Or are we more captivated by the voices of those in positions of authority? Maybe the voices we really listen to are from people we hardly know, or originate from within some electronic apparatus which rapidly transmits our voice or that of someone else, someone we may have never, nor will ever meet. When we turn on the television we are bombasted by voices: Kia of Greer wants to give you a car, come on by; our brand of laundry soap has more cleaning power than anyone – we can wash the dirt from off the world; watch this new reality show it is the best ever (yeah, just like the one it replaced, which was the best ever last year). Then again there are always the television and radio newscasts with their mostly somber, but occasionally light-hearted reports of whatever is happening around the city they are broadcasting from. What we hear from these voices is often a statement relative to our concept of reality. For instance on Tuesday night the Charlotte TV news reported crime in Charlotte was on the decline: there have been only 39 murders this year as opposed to 58 for the same period last year. Well, I guess that voice was welcomed by the 19 fewer victims, however I doubt it was very comforting to the families of the 39 from this year or the 58 from last year.
While serving in Thailand, and also in Korea, I was introduced to the concept of street markets and vendors; imagine a giant flea market that sells everything from clothing to "fresh" slaughtered meat. These are the places the locals do a lot of their shopping. Yet, several of these vendors are there primarily for the tourist, or in my case the US military, market. From the time I entered the area, until I left there were voices summoning me to come by their booth to inspect and buy their wares. There were all types of goodies, trinkets, and unbeatable deals to catch my attention. To hear these vendors pitch, I needed at least one of everything they had for sale; "Buy one for your girlfriend or wife." If these vendors sense I am new in town or a real bona-fide tourist, they will make even more noise vying for my attention and dollars. Yet, if they get the impression I am wise to their routine they will approach me with a more business-like attitude. They are still trying to sell me everything they have, but they are more subtle and convey a different approach to my wallet.
One other way to make it through these markets is to be with someone who is an old-timer and perceptive of the ways of the open market. It is comforting to have a voice of reason to guide me to the better deals and the more honest vendors. The voice with me may alert me to the fact the sliced beef I was drooling over at one vendor was actually baying at the moon and chasing cats just yesterday. It is important for us to have these voices help us in our decision making, voices to guide us to the vendor who has the best quality merchandise, and voices to point us in the correct direction for our spiritual growth. Without these voices of guidance we could easily leave the market with "Fido" in our grocery bag rather than choice sliced beef; or follow the rant of some false doctrine with a pretty name.