Monday, October 22, 2012

Lord, teach me to listen

I'm sitting in the extension mainly because there's a bit more light in here than anywhere else in the house on this damp and dreary day. The roof lights capture what daylight there is and the big windows help too. It raises one's mood a little. I'm guessing that in a few hours it will get steadily darker.

It's also very quiet.

There is the sound of the traffic going by outside, but it's not overwhelming. Two other sounds invade the space. One is the ticking of the wall clock steadily marking the passing of time, the other is the whirr of a mechanical timer that will bring the light on around 7:00 this evening. I will need to reset it soon to bring the light on earlier as the evenings close in.

Most of the time these sounds are simply background noise that I can filter out as I work, like the click, set at a low level on my iPad, that keeps me company as it follows the rhythm of my typing. I'm unaware of any other sounds, even when I strain to listen.

All this makes me wonder about the priority of listening. If we can filter out the clock and the traffic and the birds, then do we sometimes filter out God? When the disciples went up on the mountain with Jesus and he was transfigured, they did two things. First, they fell asleep. Probably not the first time they fell asleep at an important moment, and certainly not the last time they would do so. Second, they talked, well Peter did. He blurted out something about building shelters to mark the occasion without realising the significance of what was happening in front of his eyes.

God's response to Peter's desire to act, to do something to mark this amazing event that he had almost missed as he napped, was to tell him to stop doing and to start listening. Well okay, he told him to listen and didn't mention the stopping, but in order to listen there are times when you need to stop doing.

So I have a question now: What are you, or am I, trying to commemorate by doing something when we should actually be listening to what God is saying? We are very quick to hear part of it and then make an assumption about the rest. We fill in the blanks and set off without hearing the rest of the story or instructions.

Maybe Peter would have been better off asking Jesus what the significance was of what had just happened rather than anything else he had in mind.

"Lord, teach me to listen to you."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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