When Sounds Tell a Story

Our lives are full of sounds. Full of noises. For me it starts with sound of the coffee maker gurgling and bubbling, the sound of Caleb cooing and speaking incomprehensible, but oh-so-intelligent, little words from his crib, the sound of the keys tapping on my Macbook as I outline a Sunday message or write a blog. This is music of my morning. All of us have these tiny bits of audio vibrations bouncing off the tympanic membrane of our ears – some we hear, others we ignore. But what we hear is very important.

Just a little over a year ago I was visiting Jerusalem, and specifically the Old City… and I was overwhelmed by the sights, the smells, and most of all the sounds. Thousands of years of development across three major religions often leading to conflict and strife, and yet the day I spent walking around the city there was music of all kinds filling the streets. So, armed with my trusty iPhone and it’s voice memo app I was able to capture some of it. Below are three brief sound files I captured from the Old City in the three religious quarters of Jerusalem.

The Jewish Quarter – This was taken just outside a school in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

The Christian Quarter – This was taken inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I followed some Catholic pilgrims as they walked the various stations with priests in the church.

The Muslim Quarter – As we walked I heard these drums pounding from across a wall in the Muslim Quarter. I never found out exactly what it was all about though.

I think about the sounds of this ancient, but still vibrant city and causes me to think about the stories those sounds tell. Not just now, but throughout history. This is the same city that Jesus came to in the early days of his youth and taught in the Temple. This is the same city Jesus came riding in on a donkey. And out of this city he was led to be crucified.

Peter, at the birth of the first church, stood outside this city and preached for the first time. Stephen was stoned as the first martyr outside the city gates. And all the disciples and first church leaders met together here to discuss the inclusion of the Gentiles.

With each story a sound and with each sound a story.

In our own lives God is trying to continue that story in us. And the sounds he gives us are those of his own voice, if we are open to listening. Today, are you listening for the sound of his voice?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27

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