At times it has been a steep learning curve. Learning to listen more and speak less has been a discipline that I have had to intentionally practice. However, it is becoming easier the more I practice it. Never will perfection be reached. I will have to be content with progress.
Communication is often considered to be concerned only with "getting the word out" by whatever means necessary. It's more of a two-way street, isn't it? Communication's less obvious component is listening. When you look at someone listening, the perception is that they aren't doing anything. And we all know how much value is placed on not doing in our culture of perpetual motion and persistent noise.
Here are some definitions of listening (listen) for our consideration. The first is from Webster's Dictionary. The second is from an article I read somewhere (can't remember where). And the third is a definition of the Greek word frequently translated as Listen.
Definitions of Listen
archaic :to give ear to: hear
1:to pay attention to sound
listen to music
2:to hear something with thoughtful attention :give consideration
listen to a plea
3:to be alert to catch an expected sound
listen for his step
Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood.
ἀκούω (akouō) to attend to, to comprehend, to understand
This third example, from the Greek, is beautifully and pointedly evident in the following passage from the gospel of Matthew:
Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" (Mathew 17:4-5)
Reformation of our interior and individual life is predicated by our capacity and willingness to practice listening for God. Our relationship with the Father, through the Son, is dependent on the mutuality and divine dance of love, mercy, and grace, that looks to listening as life support.
- As we anticipate our time together on Sunday morning, take some time to reflect on a few questions: In the past week have you intentionally spent time listening?
- To what or to whom do you listen?
- Do you listen only to what tickles your ears?
- Do you thirst for satisfaction?
- Would you be content with not getting in the last word, but rather receiving the Word?
18th Sunday after Pentecost
October 8, 2017
The Prayer of the Day
Beloved God, from you come all things that are good.
Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right,
and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.