It’s a rather surreal experience to be a preacher who cannot preach.
About a month ago I started noticing pain in my throat, no… in my neck. It wasn’t a sore throat like you’d get with a cold – it was on the side, but still somewhat in the center. I reasoned it was allergies and ignored it – like I always do. Like most men do. Swallowing began to hurt, coughing was uncomfortable. Sneezing was downright unbearable. I noticed a clicking in my neck when I rubbed my throat, something I started to do over and over again. Then this week I began losing my voice… as Sunday was approaching. But still there was no sign of a cold or anything I would normally associate with a sore throat.
January 2, I found myself in the doctors office. The not so tender rebuke of my loving brother-in-law ringing in my ears forced me to go. Mr family doctor was surprised to find no hint of a cold. Instead he suspects something wonky with my Thyroid. I didn’t understand everything he said, but I’ve learned more about the thyroid gland in two days than I could have ever imagined. We’re still waiting on the blood tests.
Today is Sunday. I still can’t speak, at least not very well.
So today I had wonderful godly men fill in. They did the scripture reading, the pastoral prayer, and so on. Our musicians drew up a longer worship service.
I couldn’t sing.
But I listened.
I listened to the sounds of God’s people crying out to him with faith, love, and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I listened to godly men read the scriptures and pray.
I wept tears of joy for the congregation God has brought me to for these past sixteen years. I also wept because I couldn’t sing, and I couldn’t preach.
I had prepared a sermon and couldn’t preach it. I prepared brief remarks and couldn’t give them. I did lead communion … in a hoarse whisper… with the sound system cranked way up to capture my muted voice.
Silently the gospel was proclaimed in the bread and the wine.
I couldn’t shout it out.
But I listened.