Thunder and angels
John 12:29 reports that God spoke and people who were saturated in the very words of God had no idea what he said. Some in the audience said they heard natural noise, thunder. Others assumed that an angel had spoken. The voice we hear seems to be the echoes of our imagination.
The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Loud and confusing
Sometimes the noise of battle overpowers the gospel’s joyful sound. Sometimes it is the noise of battle with no battle. I detect that the John 12:29 phenomenon plays out more often than we would like to admit. The thunder-angel game is comfortable and costly. If God speaks and it sounds like thunder or if one mistakes his voice for an angel (or vice versa) we are in a deep pit with smooth walls.
Loud and low
There is quite literally a lot of shouting. Church can be loud, and its sounds can be mindboggling stupid or sensible. Slogans and mottos, maxims and downright nonsense pollute the air. There are stories that studiously avoid the gospel, even when the story is from one of the four gospels, whence we get the lowdown on the Saviour’s voice.
19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.