Key Word:- CONSIDER
Title:- Asaph’s Aphasia
Nehemiah 12:46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
I have returned to Oliver Sacks's book, ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ again and again. His clinical observations of people with gross neurological dysfunction are highly intriguing, full of lessons and frankly ‘pull the pants down’ on what we good folks call ‘normality.’
He describes a condition called ‘Aphasia’ wherein patients, who, though intelligent, were rendered incapable of understanding spoken words, though they did understood most of what was said to them. Apparently this understanding was due to an enhancement of the ability to discern the ‘meaning’ of expressions and something he describes as, ‘tone feeling’. As Sacks explains, this is easy to comprehend when you recognize that natural speech does not consist of words alone but of UTTERANCE.
The spoken word is indeed the uttering forth of one's whole person, each word being infused with tone and embedded expressiveness. Sacks goes on to describe how a whole ward of Aphasiacs were doubled up in laughter at an ex American President's speech they were watching on television. They did not understand a literal word he was saying, yet the gross and dramatic insincerity of the ex President's utterance moved them to unbelievable laughter. Now there’s a gift of discernement if ever there was one!
I am sure that Asaph of old, a Levite, son of Berechiah, of the family of Gershom did not have Aphasia. However, he was so well regarded as a musician that King David appointed him to preside over all the sacred choral services of the temple. He was such a gifted musician that his ‘office’ became an hereditary one, and the sons of Asaph came to lead the people of God for centuries in praise and communicative worship. Oh yes, Asaph was regarded as an anointed one, even as a seer.
I much prefer this ancient word for prophet. You know? ‘Seer.’ Someone who in intonation, colourful tones, in both light and shade and subtle expressiveness ‘SEES’ into things, and even sometimes ‘SEES’ into the future. Asaph was a seer and communicated his understanding in music. Words yes, but words set to music, words accompanied by music, words full of tone, words heavy with expression, words rich with dancing communication and not just of grammatical and prosaic correctness. Oh that we all had a touch of Asaph's Aphasia, for the prophetic gift is a ‘seeing gift' it is a gift of both understood and imparted utterance.
Dare I suggest that the prophetic is more than words, for words can, in and of themselves, mean the most majestic of marvels, yet can still stand as misunderstood monoliths, disconnected from the heart. The true prophetic is indeed an utterance.
Today, let us commit to being 'utterers' rather than 'mutterers'; people who fill the space between the words, with honesty, love and spirit communication, for the fickle fuddledness of confusing words can just consist of so much talking, and talking, and talking, that they become empty, dead, husk like lies before our hurting hearts.
Seers can see the space between your words and hear the utterance, despite the words. Yes, seers can see the snakes, the sins and all the uttered insincerities of your sentences.
Listen:- Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”
Pray: - Lord, teach me to listen and to communicate with my whole being, that my heart may never be far from You, My Saviour and My God, in Jesus name I pray, amen.