Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Speak....I'm Listening

This week's scriptures are 1 Samuel 3 and John 1:43-51.

Many of us grew up on the Bible story of Samuel being called by God in the middle of the night. As a kid, I could picture him getting up from his bed and running in to Eli saying, "you called me...here I am" and Eli sending him back to bed those two times before he caught on the third time that God was calling Samuel.

After that, Eli told Samuel that if he heard the voice again he was to respond, "speak Lord, for your servant heareth" (I memorized it in King James English in Sunday School...can't help it).

There are a couple of reasons why Eli and Samuel might not have caught on to who was doing the talking. The first is found in verse 1 where we're told that "in those days the word of the Lord was rarely heard, and there was n outpouring of vision." The second is that "Samuel had not yet come to know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not been disclosed to him" (verse 7).

Neither Eli or Samuel (for different reasons) was tuned in to the idea that God might be saying something here; that the 'disturbance' might be God created.

Nathanael, on the other hand, rejects the idea of Jesus being the Messiah when his brother Philip comes to tell him about it based on where Jesus came from. Nathanael's first comment is, "what good can come out of Nazareth?" Now this may have been a reflection on the lack of scriptural connection to Nazareth; or it may have been a slur on that little podunk place that was nowhere near as good as Cana in Nathanael's mind.

In any event, all three of these folks could well have missed what God was doing based on their biases and presuppositions. These had to be overcome before any of them could say, out loud or internally, "Speak.....I'm listening."

I wonder about us. What biases and presuppositions about how God is going to do things have blocked us from hearing something that God was trying to say to us?

In my own life, I try to pay attention to my dreams as one of the ways that God talks to me. Part of the reason for this is that when I'm awake I often have so much stuff buzzing around in my head, so much that has to be done, so much that I'm busy being anxious about....that I can't be still enough to listen. It's often only when sleep makes me be still that I can be open to hear what God may have been trying to tell me all day long. Sometimes I've missed the (in this case) warning during the day, and then ignored it when it came in my dreams, only to find on down the line that I'd been given plenty of opportunity to avoid the emotional 'pothole' that I stepped in.

Being open, listening, expecting that God will be speaking to us causes us to approach our day and our world in a radically different way. What would happen if we went to sleep saying, "speak to me tonight God, I'm listening" and if we woke up and began the day asking, "Lord, let me be open to what You're trying to tell me today."

I wish I could tell you that this particular spiritual discipline is an ongoing part of my life every day. But it's not. I'm growing into it. What I can tell you is taht the times that I do make myself this vulnerable, this open to what God is trying to say and do in my life the results have been immeasurably important in my growth as a Christian and in my attempt to live out my faith day to day. I can also tell you that it's often very, very scary; because God is frequently leading me places that I've been avoiding (which is probably one of the reasons I'm not as disciplined at it as I would like to be).

A final question: what would happen if a whole faith community attempted that spiritual discipline for even a week? It's an interesting thought isn't it?

See you Sunday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uploaded 1-23-09. Sadly, all we recorded was a fragment (low battery issue).

Sorry for all those who couldn't be there!