We live in a noisy world. Georgetown College President William H. Crouch could tell you a thing or two about noise – he recently stood next to the speakers at a Kenny Chesney concert. Yet in all the noise, God whispers to us, and He has a lot to say.
President Crouch spoke to this on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in the final Chapel Service of the semester. He had a tough act to follow; after Sophomore Sarah Carey opened with a word of prayer, GC’s gospel choir, the Joyful Noise Singers, took to the stage. The choir, lead by Pamela Young, filled the John L. Hill Chapel with beautiful harmonies as they performed “Higher Lifted Up.” Their movement, energy and enthusiasm captured the audience. Immediately following, the audience joined with the choir in singing the congregational hymn, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The Chapel Brass ensemble provided accompaniment, as did the organ. While the brass ensemble performed “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” offering was collected for the Salvation Army.
Then came time for the main event. Before President Crouch began his sermon, however, he recognized two GC groups – the Women’s Soccer Team, who played for the conference championship against Lindsey Wilson, and the Women’s Volleyball Team, who played for the national championship. Though both teams lost their games, they advanced quite far in their tournaments. No GC women’s athletic team has ever before played for the national championship. These two teams taught President Crouch to never give up. He presented them with orange and black M&Ms – his favored treat for himself when he has accomplished something.
“I want to talk to you today about whispers.” With these words, President Crouch began his sermon about the things that God whispers to us that we may be too busy to hear. Whispers are small, quiet proclamations. Someone might whisper to share a secret, because they are tired or sick, or because the noises around them are so loud that there usual speaking voice sounds like a whisper.
The Bible is full of whispers. Samuel heard a whisper and thought it was his mentor, Elijah, but in reality, it was the voice of God. In Acts 10:10, God speaks to Peter in a whisper, and on the road to Damascus, Paul hears a voice that no one else can hear. Yet, said President Crouch, “We live in a noisy world.” He drew a cell phone out of his pocket to demonstrate, walking across the stage and pretending to text. Distractions like phones, music, and television prevent us from hearing God.
God is still speaking, however, and according to President Crouch, he is whispering three things to us. The first of these messages is, “I love you.” “The most important condition of our human existence is that we are loved,” said President Crouch. Many people in the audience, he continued, have lost loved ones, to death, abandonment, divorce, or illness, and these loses leave holes in our hearts. “If we don’t fill those holes, then we’re not living up to the potential that God gives,” he explained. God is able to fulfill our need for love.
The second thing God whispers is, “Fear not.” “It’s a scary world…professors, papers, tests…,” said President Crouch, eliciting some laughs from the audience. People can also fear death, hurt, and illness. Fear keeps us paralyzed and prevents us from reaching our potential, but in the Christmas story, the angels tell the shepherds not to fear. God tells us not to be afraid, but instead, to rejoice. This is his third whisper – “Rejoice!” President Crouch explained that people look for happiness in all the wrong places – in sex, drugs, alcohol and illicit sex – when in fact, we have everything that we need to be happy inside of us. Here at GC, the faculty and staff want students to succeed, parents make sacrifices for their children to attend the college, and miracles happen so that young men and women can become GC Tigers.
In closing, President Crouch reminded the audience that 2,000 years ago, God spoke in a whisper, and that whisper was the Baby Jesus. Instead of using a natural disaster or some other grand display of power, he sent his son in the form of an infant.
“On Christmas,” said President Crouch, “shut off your phones and listen.”
The Chapel Service then ended as the entire audience joined hands and sang “Joy to the World.”