By Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults
There is a strong biblical precedent in Israel’s salvation history of crying out to the LORD. We find it in the Psalms in particular. “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help” (Ps 18:6). However, we also see the disciples crying out to Jesus, and he answers by calming the sea (Mark 4:35-41). We even see Jesus himself crying out to God from the cross in the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 27:46). There is also a biblical precedent of the Lord not recognizing the voices of those who cried out. He answered, “I never knew you, depart from me you evil doers” (Matt 7:21-23). I began to wonder, given the scripture selections above, what about those who, as a result of a stroke, a congenital birth defect, or a tragic accident, have no voice?
On a recent podcast I heard of the amazing work of Dr. Rupal Patel, a speech scientist who has devoted her career to giving voice to the voiceless. As she explained on a recent TED Talk, there are many people with severe speech disorders who use digital devices to communicate. However, there are limited choices in terms of the mechanized voices available on such devices. Suppose you were a thirteen year old British girl without the ability to speak, and the device you used to express yourself had the voice of a middle aged male from the Midwest. Each of us has a unique voice
depending on or age, gender, nationality and even personality. Thanks to Dr. Patel’s ground breaking work, she is able to extract pitch and intonations, from even the smallest grunts and gurgles, in order to digitally synthesize a voice closely matching the sound quality of the would be target voice. This technology has changed the lives of the voiceless. What a joy to call out in an authentic voice! Whether it is uttered softly or loudly, make sure that it is prayed frequently; the LORD desires to hear your authentic voice.