A Familiar Voice
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
Before there was Mike Shannon’s gravelly voice or Jack Buck’s smooth tones, there was Mel Allen. Mel Allen was the voice of the New York Yankees beginning in 1938. Every night throughout the 1940s and 50s, his voice could be heard in houses across the country. Born in Alabama, his Southern drawl might have seemed an unlikely fit for the Bronx Bombers. However, his storytelling and ability to help the fans to see the game through his play-by-play call made him the most familiar voice in America. In the early 1950s, Allen jumped in a cab outside the Omaha airport and said, “Sheraton, please.” The cab driver turned around because he immediately recognized the familiar voice with those two words.
Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. The voice of the Lord plays a powerful role in the story of salvation. The story itself is important, but what is central is the voice of the Lord. For it is the Lord’s voice that calls light into being. The Lord speaks and His voices creates the sun and the moon and the stars, the land and the sea, the animals and the birds and the fish. In Psalm 29, David writes, “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning; the voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.” God’s voice is indeed awesome and mighty. John describes the Lord’s voice as sounding like a cascade of rushing waters. The voice of the Lord is an awesome thing to behold. It causes men to fall down and cover their faces.
The voice of the Lord is also a tender, beautiful sound for the saints of God. The Lord reveals himself to Elijah, not in the mighty wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in the still small voice, the gentle whisper. The Lord called to His young servant Samuel and set him apart for his service. He called to Moses from a burning bush to commission him to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. And the Lord proclaims His favor upon His beloved Son Jesus at His baptism and at His transfiguration. The Lord’s voice has also called to you. As the word of the Lord is given to us from Isaiah, “Fear not, I have called you by name, you are mine.” In the waters of Holy Baptism, the voice of the Lord, working through the Word, calls God’s people and sets them apart for his service, just as He did with Elijah and Samuel and Moses. May the voice of the Good Shepherd be a familiar voice to bring you comfort and peace and to assure you that no one can snatch you out of His hand!
Prayer – Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan