Saturday, January 23, 2010

Listen up!

Today’s Reading: Acts 13:16 NIV

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand, and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles, who worship God, listen to me!”

Good morning!

“Listen up!” Miss Walker would shout as loud as she could to gain some semblance of control over the students participating in elementary choir. I have always loved music, vocal and instrumental, and I looked forward with anticipation to every class. It was more than obvious that the boys my age would much rather have had their teeth pulled than sing. They preferred gymnastics to music class, any day of the week. Miss Walker’s frustration seemed to mount as the school year wore on. It did not seem fair to me that this gifted teacher had to work doubly hard in the classroom, to offer us the required curriculum outlined in her weekly learning plans.

For those of us who longed to learn, we were privileged to receive the benefit of Miss Walker’s tutoring. She invited me to turn pages for her in worship on weekends, when she would play as a substitute organist for local United Methodist churches in our community. Occasionally, Miss Walker would offer free concerts on Sunday afternoons, open to the public, and I would go and listen to the glorious sounds that filled the air. Her extraordinary gift was available to anyone who would make time to listen.

Listening is a choice. The flurry of noise around us can diminish our capacity to hear the things of utmost importance. Pride can be a huge deterrent when it comes to hearing and understanding the message. The people who had gathered at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, were proud of their heritage through God’s everlasting covenant with Israel. It was difficult for many to hear and accept the fulfillment of the promised One, who had come in their lifetime, to lead them back into the Father’s arms. Somehow, they were missing the point. Just like those unruly boys in Miss Walker’s fifth grade music class, we choose to close their hearts, and do all in our power to distract others from hearing the beautiful music of everlasting life which comes through Christ alone. The Apostle Paul knew it would be hard for many to hear, and so, he raised his voice with great conviction, and said, “Listen to me!”

I was saddened at first, when Miss Walker decided to leave her teaching position at the school and travel abroad, offering her talents as a professional musician. I am certain this new career path gave her a great sense of personal satisfaction. I will always be grateful to the instruction of Miss Walker, for she taught me how to truly listen, especially when the decibel level in the classroom of life is almost deafening.

Are there pastors and teachers in your life, who have taught you how to truly listen to the still, small voice of God? Has the deafening noise of the cultural worldview somehow kept you from hearing God speak to your heart? It is often a scary thing to set aside our pride to listen and hear the message offered. It is my humble prayer that you will choose to open the Scripture with a contrite and softened heart, and be able to truly hear the voice of our Lord as He whispers, “Listen to me!”

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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