Tag Archives: listen

Listen and Learn

How we English love to watch and endlessly discuss the weather.  Presumably because we live in a country where the weather can, and does, produce anything.

Luke 12:49-56

Not Peace, but Trouble

49 I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50 I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51 Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52 A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53 Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other.

Knowing What To Do

54 Jesus said to all the people:

As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, “It’s going to get hot,” and it does. 56 Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don’t really know what’s going on right now.

Jesus warns against those who think they know everything about the weather – but forget that they know nothing about the rest of life’s conditions!  As many have found out to recent cost, it’s no good knowing it’s going to rain, and not knowing the condition of the drains.

The moral of the story?  Don’t take pride in what you do know, try to take more notice of the things you usually overlook.  Don’t shout loudly about your pet subject, and fail to listen to what others have to say about things that matter to them.  Don’t think you know everything – there is much we all have to learn.

This applies in all situations in life, and in faith.  Never assume we know it all, and have nothing to learn.  There is so much others have to share and teach, if only we listen.  I think it is also a warning to not get so caught up in church life that we fail to see what is happening around us in our community.

We can only truly live out our faith if it is rooted in the real lives of what is going on around us.

Forgive me Lord,
when I think I know everything.
Help me to listen,
to hear,
to learn
and to respond

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Prayer

The purpose of prayer is praise (p35)

This is not, Stephen Cottrell reminds us, because God needs our thanks, but because without God there is nothing.

When we encounter God, and all that he freely gives to us, what can we do, but respond in praise and thanks?

But, Cottrell goes on:

The voice of thanksgiving must soon turn to silence (p35)

Not because we run out of things to say, but because in prayer we also receive from God.

Our minds and hearts can be fed and replenished; we can begin to know God’s mind; there can be alignment between our wills and the will of God.

Lent, in the desert, can be our opportunity to take that time.  To spend time hearing God, seeing what he has to say to us, and in doing so being more “at one” with him.  How quick we are to come to God with a shopping list of wants and needs – often very worthy – how slow we are to listen to what his wants and needs might be in our life.  We would be a poor friend if we met with our friend and did nothing but talk about ourselves, never asking them about themselves or giving them space to say what they wanted to – yet so often we think nothing of doing that with God.

By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (Bhutan) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In the picture, Rising from Sleep in the Morning, Jesus is reaching, waiting, ready to receive

Am I?

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

Just Listen – Day 13

Ah, listening – that old chestnut!  Did you actually hear what I said??  It is perfectly possible to be present, and to hear nothing of what is said, or to hear the noise, but not register the words, or even to hear the words, but do nothing about it.  Sometimes you even get an apparent response to what is said, but when later questioned on why nothing has happened any recollection is denied.

You can see I have vast experience of this!!  And yet.. am I any different?

  • Do I even hear God speak?  Is there so much noise in my life that I can’t hear?  Am I just not paying attention?
  • Do I hear God say something, but do nothing about it?  Am I too wrapped up in me and my problems?  Do I not see the point?  Am I distracted by something else?
  • Do I respond to God’s voice, but then forget?  Or get too busy?
  • Do I even give God the chance to speak?  Do I never stop still long enough? Do I let him get a word in my chatter?

Lord,

I stop,

and listen.

There is so much to be heard,

when I stop making a noise.

And so,

today,

I purposely take time

to hear your voice,

not what I think you’re saying,

but to really listen

to what you have to say to me.

And as I listen,

may I allow your words

to sink into me,

allow them to touch me,

to shape me,

to challenge me.

Then I respond

The Good Shepherd

23 You, Lord, are my shepherd.
I will never be in need.
    You let me rest in fields
of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
    and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name,
and you lead me
along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherd’s rod
makes me feel safe.

Your kindness and love
will always be with me
each day of my life,
and I will live forever
in your house, Lord.

This year for Advent, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub