This is a speech which I wrote for the MACS Speech Festival. It took first.
It’s a simple word, and it’s very small. However, it carries a sincere call. “A call?” You ask. “Yes,” I say; a call to you, for an answer today. You see, a call more than a voice. It’s a plea from the heart, provoking a choice. “Explain!” you demand, and such I’ll do, as long as you promise to hold your peace too.
So stop for a moment, put self-thoughts aside, and imagine a girl at her bedside. Her tears remind you of those tears you once had: tears from your childhood with your loving mom and dad. But back to her, for her story gets worse. It starts with her parents and ends with a hearse. It was a dreadful day she had to face, with a horrible car wreck at too quick a pace. They pushed her out at the cost of their lives, pushing her to safety, from certain death to life. And as time’s flown by, we now see her cry at her bedside with one unspoken plea:
But on to the next, although you seem vexed, and think of a man, asleep alone in a van. “A van?” You ask. “Yes,” I say. But don’t judge too quickly, because I’ll explain today. You see, the van’s not his, and not his to keep. But on this stormy night, he needed somewhere to sleep. Now, we look down on his life choices that led him there, and yes they’re his, so let’s be fair! He threw his life away and gave himself to death; he obtained every drug from alcohol to meth. And yet, as he lay in his choices of pain, can’t we hear his unspoken call through the rain?
“Stop!” You say. “Why not something more relevant to today? Something for me, within my reach, something that doesn’t fall through my silent breach.” Alright, my friend, a fair request from you, but consider my answer. It’s thought-provoking, but not new.
Consider the people you walk beside: your closest of friends, your daily ride. How about the strangers you pass day by day? They’re always so busy, but have nothing to say. Have you ever thought that they have a past; that they too have baggage that was built to last? “Everyone has baggage, whether they say it or not.” That’s what my mom had always taught.
And if you don’t believe me, think back, and I don’t intend to attack, but remember that day your friend seemed to have something to say. Recall that so sad look in your friend’s eye: the look of one about to cry. You asked if your friend was okay or alright, and all your friend said was, “I’m fine, good night.” It crossed your mind, I’m certain to say. You heard that word, I’m sure, that day. You heard it ring in your ear all night, you heard the cry of an endless fight. You thought to help, but were content with such, so you let it be and never said much. But remember that word, soft and sure:
Now let me remind you about Someone who answered that call: Someone who decided to lose it all! Someone who looked into angry eyes, and looked beyond their endless lies. He stopped to listen and heard that cry. He saw that word in every eye. He looked through every moment of time, and said, “Enough! No more of ‘I’m fine.’ You’re broken and dead! You’ve lost all stead! Enough! Wake up! I’ll help you right now, but first, accept My final vow.” And with that, He hung on a tree, and it was there I realized He hung for me. His moment had come, the time was right, that’s when He said his final vow with all his might, “It is finished!” rang through an endless crowd, an answer to a call so clear and loud:
That cry was answered that very day. And with that, I have little else to say. Not even the grave has a comment to give because even the grave knew the Savior must live. But stop and consider what you claim yourself to be. Because if you’re a Christian, you’re nailed to the same very tree. You’re dead to self, the grave still claims your blood; you’ve been rescued through the ark of Noah’s flood. Only Christ walked out of the grave that day. Through Him you live, so you have nothing else to say. That being the case, hear this word once more,
Because it’s through us now, He answers that call. So if we never answer, why be here at all? If we claim to be the body of Christ, let’s remember that we live for strife. We live for those souls who cry out in pain, we live to run through that pouring rain. We live to lift up that girl beside her bed, and we live to hold up that wretched man’s head. We live to share our hope with the lost, and we live to help the helpless at all cost.