Pastor's Note | 07.10.2020 The Praise of Listening

Updated: Jul 11

God of Zion,

to you even silence is praise.

Promises made to you are kept—

2 you listen to prayer—

and all living things come to you. (Isaiah 65:1-2)

Good Day Family,

The Praise of Listening

Silence is golden as the saying goes. It’s a valuable commodity, worth more than most others. The prophet Isaiah notes that silence is a form of worship. The psalmist encourages us to be still (silent) and know that God is God. So, what is it about silence that makes it so precious?

In silence, we hear. We can listen without the distraction of our own voice or other noises that vie for our attention. In silence, that whisper of the Holy Spirit into our spirits rings out like a roar. In silence, we can reach a calm and a peace that our perpetual motion can make elusive.

In true silence, we relinquish the need for an immediate, and at times premature, response. It enables us to be fully present to the moment. Hal Elrod, author and developer of The Miracle Morning, recommends beginning each day in silence. His book is secular but acknowledges that silence is also prayer. If we remember that prayer is simply communication with God, then listening is even more essential than speaking. Therefore, in our prayer time, we don’t simply talk to God, but we talk with God. That time is incomplete if we have not also heard from God. Yes, God listens to our prayer. The question is, do we listen to God’s.

Listening is equally important in our human interactions. Much of the world’s ills could be healed if we committed to listening for understanding. If we truly heard one another, we could enter into each other’s experiences. We would learn that our differences are not insurmountable, and our challenges could be overcome.

Living Water Association, the association of United Church of Christ congregations to which we belong, invites all of us to participate in a summer read of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. It is a historical account of racism in America. It’s an opportunity to listen and to be heard in community with one another as we collectively enter into the American experience from a lens often ignored. You do not have to read the book to join the conversation, especially the first gathering, which will be this Sunday. The flyer with the Zoom information is below. I pray that you will consider participating.

More than that, I pray that you will have a deep commitment to listening…to God, to family and friends, and to our neighbors. Love needs listening.

With open ears,

Be well,

Pastor Cheryl

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