June 27, 2014 | 09:55 am

Being a Voice for Those Who Are Unheard

This week I am wrapping up my second full year of seminary. I have been in a class called Preaching Foundations and this week I wrote my final paper. I thought I might pass along this excerpt for my blogpost this week. My title is “The Choosing of the Words: A Theology of Preaching”. 

(The context of this portion is "being a voice for those who are not heard" while preparing a sermon.)

            Along this race, there are those who are silent and downtrodden, those who feel unheard. Before the minister can choose the words, she must look around for who is unable to speak. She looks at her congregation, her neighborhood, her city, and her region and she sees that there are people whose voices are being lost in the wind of privilege and oppression. She hears them, because she is trying to train her ear to hear them.

            She hears little children who do not have an advocate. She hears disabled people who do not have access. She hears single mothers who do not have good legal counsel. She hears immigrants who are struggling to find shelter. She hears gay and lesbian and trans* youth who have been abandoned to the street. She hears a cacophony of voices that are not heard by the mainstream, the influential. She knows from the record we have of Jesus’ life on earth that his words reflected the voices of those who were not heard. She must incorporate their cries into the choosing of the words. She must speak to the systems of oppression that burden others and to the sinful inclinations of those in power. Like any good shepherd, she must dare to confront the wolves in the pews and in the city. She has 20 minutes. She must choose her words carefully.