Filling the Void: The Power of Speech

Photo by Tim Mossholder on

In the beginning…there was a blank page.

Sitting down to prepare Friday’s devotion for the speech and debate league our family has been involved with for nearly a decade, my first thoughts drifted back to those beautiful words in Genesis 1:1 – “בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים” (In the beginning, God created). In verse two, we read, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Every time I approach a new post, I feel the vacuum of the void. I’m sure every student competing in the NCFCA has felt the same way, perhaps even feeling overwhelmed by the “darkness upon the face of the deep.”

“I don’t know what to write about! What piece should I choose for my humorous? I can’t think of a unique persuasive speech topic! Do I really have to do limited prep speeches again this year? You want me to debate! Did you say moot court?” I can hear it now! 🙂

But keep going on into verse three: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” God creates something out of nothing; He brings order to the chaos and begins to define and fill the empty space that would eventually become our universe.

Jump ahead to verse twenty-six and you read about the creation of man: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Here we come to understand our role as image bearers. The Apostle Paul would echo this sentiment in Ephesians 2:10 when he wrote, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” The word for workmanship is poiema, or “poem” in English. We are God’s poems, unique expressions of our Heavenly Father created to “do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).

What does this have to do with speech and debate? EVERYTHING! God didn’t put on his work-belt, construction gloves, and hardhat to construct heaven and earth. He SPOKE it into existence. If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, perhaps God sang all things into being. Ultimately, it’s the power of His words that caused the world to come alive.

The following poem extends God’s creative powers to His image bearers: you and me. We, too, create with our words. And as we behold what each one of us creates (be it humorous, persuasive, or with limited prep time), we, too, are like the angelic hosts “eagerly watching these things happen.”

Spoken Resurrection

Vincent H. Anastasi – 2021

Over the void of existence,
the formless and empty deep,
you brooded, awaiting nascent speech.
Into that pregnant darkness
light shone,
and from the word-clods of language,
you fashioned worlds
and peopled landscapes
with figures that rose from the page,
your speech breathing life into aural space!

Let there be…

Now we like heavenly hosts
eagerly behold in awed wonder
something birthed from nothing,
living words released,
creative imaginings animate:
the poiemas of God
creating as created –
image-bearers in time;
and it is exceedingly good!

mᵉʼôd ṭôwb

And every act of speaking,
every cross-examination,
every breath
with each new day
is a fresh creation,
a further act of creating
for blind eyes awaiting sight
through your spoken resurrection.

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