Bringing the Text to Life

Within Earshot Psalm 130

Within Earshot

God is listening now. Now is the time to call to him.

At a Glance

In today's psalm reading, the psalmist is crying to the Lord and hoping that the Lord will hear him. So we begin this material by looking into how far the human voice can travel. It is then a natural step to ask whether the human voice can reach the heavens and be heard by God.

Editors' Pick

For material based on today's gospel text, see "Good or Bad Body Language," June 26, 1994, at

Have you ever used the expression "within shouting distance"?

It's an idiom that means "fairly close" or "near," as in, "I live within shouting distance of my parents." We take that to mean that they live just down the street from you or only a few blocks away or nearby. While we might not always mean the phrase literally, the idea is that if you went outside and shouted for them, your parents would be able to hear you.

But how far, really, is shouting distance? According to the Guinness World Records, the normal intelligible outdoor range of the male human voice in still...

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