64Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.

zechariahs-mouth-opened65Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea.

66All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zecharaiah has been silent for nine months… nine months without uttering a word. It is hard to imagine a priest who stays silent for nine months.

What was Zechariah thinking all this time? Was he frightened? Did he worry he might never speak again? What good is a priest without a voice?

It must have been a lonely, conflicted time. In part his heart would have been filled with hope and expectation. Elizabeth is going to bear a child, the fulfillment of so many wishes. And yet, all this time, Zechariah’s mouth is closed.

So often my mouth is closed.

It is not that I do not speak words. Words fill my life. I speak until at times I become tired of the sound of my own voice.

But, even though I have never been mute, my tongue is seldom “freed”. The words I hear coming from my mouth are too often formed by convention or expectation or some external demand. They do not emanate from a place of authenticity and truth.

My words are formed from personality; they seek to make an impression, to have an impact, to manipulate and control the world.

Words that come from a tongue that is “freed” only emerge from silence and stillness. They are not shaped by any need to make an impact on the world. They carry no demand or necessity. They do not expect a particular response.

Words that come from a “freed” tongue are words that will always be “praising God.” They seek only to honour truth, beauty, and light because they emerge from that place that is truly, freely and authentically human.

How do I seek with my words to control and manipulate the world around me?

What does it feel like when my words emerge from a place within myself that is truly free?