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The Missing Voices
Summer is coming to an end. I will soon be teaching again. I look forward to finding new ways to pass along what I have learned through many years of practice to another group of future lawyers. It is a joy to play a small part in their professional formation.
We continue to live in interesting times. Too interesting perhaps. Many of us who listen hear the same cacophonous voices. They are voices of politicians and pundits, reporters and raconteurs. Voices of anger and sadness, fear and longing, hate and passion, exclusion and grief. We each have our filters, as well as our limits. Some days there are only so many voices we can handle. Better, on those days, to listen to the sounds of nature - birds singing, breezes buzzing, trees swaying, dogs barking, waves crashing, even the voice of silence now and then.
In a world and time awash in voices, I wonder, where are the prophetic voices, and why is it so hard to hear them? Aren’t we missing the voice of the prophet, the one that calls us out of our old and failing dwelling to a new place, that place where the wolf will dwell with the lamb, swords will be made into ploughshares, and there will be an end to war? Where there is good news for the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed? The voice that reveals the errors of our ways and the desolate outcomes to which they lead, and calls us to a better life, a life we can find only by turning away from the pursuit of power and riches and humbly seeking a more just, kind, and sustainable path?
In his famous song, “Sound of Silence,” Paul Simon wrote: “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls.” Maybe so. But I know there are prophets among us, true prophets, good prophets, those who understand where we are failing and want only to show us a better way. I hope that we will begin to hear their voices and grasp their vision. Because, as it is written, without a vision, the people perish.