Today in church, Pastor Sarah challenged us to practice the spiritual discipline of listening this week. She asked us to do three things every day.
1. Sit still for a few minutes. Notice the sounds around you. What do you hear?
As I sat in the sun in the rocking chair on my back porch, I rocked and listened. I heard the birds.
There were several white-capped sparrows calling to each other with their distinctive “See, see, pretty, pretty, me!” I could hear at least three and possibly four different sparrows. One would call – another would answer – always with the same, vain song – “See, see, pretty, pretty me!” How does that echo my own vain song “See, ME, it’s all about me”?
There was also a whole flock of starlings quarrelling over the suet feeder! They squawked, and fluttered, and fought, until finally they all flew away – none of them having been able to get more than a taste. Because each one was so interested in getting there first, and getting the most, none of them got very much.
And when I was sitting still and listening, I could hear the beating of the wings of the chickadees as they fluttered across the yard, and the splashing of the robin in the bird bath under the tree. The chickadees have solved the problem of fighting for a place on the perch of the feeder. They nip into an empty spot and snatch one seed at a time, and retire to the branch of a tree to eat it. The robin enjoyed her solitary bath in the sun-warmed water.
2. During your day notice which voices you trust.
On this 52nd Anniversary of our marriage, I trust this man. He has never let me down when it came to anything important. He has loved me, and he has provided for me and our children, and he has supported me as I grew into the woman I am today. When we met and married I was timid and unsure of myself, but after years of encouragement from him and the fact that I knew I could count on him to be there for me, I am strong and self-confident.
3. When you hear something you don’t want to hear, try asking yourself, “What is the Spirit saying to me?”
I really resisted reading this article ‘Soft Coup’ on Trump Hiding in Plain Sight. I realized that I have been so focused on MY side of the argument, that I have resisted hearing what the other side said. So I read the article. And I read the analysis on Medium. I’m not so stupid as to think that Trump is all bad, and the Democrats are all good, but I realized I may have been listening myself in to believing that. I think, once more, that Calvin was right. People may have been created without sin, but, left to their own devices, they will often (usually) choose the sinful, God-denying, self-important way. I realize the Spirit is telling me not to get too full of myself, and to keep on judging my attitudes and actions by Matthew 25. As I fancy myself as having more and more power in church circles and in life in general, I MUST keep remembering “Power corrupts! Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” May God have mercy on my soul.