Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Listen to Him

It's been a while since I last had my hearing checked. I'm probably overdue an appointment. Thing is, the last time I went to an audiologist it wasn't the best of outcomes. They told me, yes, my hearing had deteriorated over the years, but that it hadn't deteriorated enough to actually do anything about it. So I'm now stuck with not hearing everything that goes on, particularly in the setting of larger rooms, but with no simple way of rectifying it.

If you ever notice in the sharing of joys and concerns that I'm not quite getting some of those prayer requests exactly right or I'm answering a question in the Fellowship Hall that wasn't really the one you were asking, then be patient. Maybe eventually I will become a case the audiologists consider worth treating. But in the meantime what I have to do is listen more intently!

This coming Sunday is 'Transfiguration Sunday' and we take a look at a reading from Mark 9:2-9 where Jesus travels up a mountain with His disciples. Moses and Elijah put in a glowing appearance whilst a voice thunders from the heavens 'This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him'. (Last Sundays Sermon can be found here)

Peter misinterprets the whole situation and starts talking about putting some tents up so that they can capture the experience for all time. But it seems as quickly as it happens, it's all over and they head back down the mountain with Jesus. I'm sure those words from the sky, 'Listen to Him' were ringing in their ears!

There can be a huge difference between hearing and listening. To hear is to comprehend at some level. To listen is to take the information in much more profoundly. And yet, the two are inextricably connected. One could make the case that one has to be able and willing to hear before one is truly able to listen.

Before they went up the mountain Jesus told them that the path before Him would be marked by great suffering and rejection and death. Peter would have nothing of it. It didn't line up with his understanding of how the world works or how God works in the world.

We tend to screen out those things we don't want to hear. My wife Yvonne complains that I have become masterful at 'selective' hearing. 'Would you like a second helping of lemon meringue pie?' is usually acknowledged. 'Take out the trash' … not so much.

When it comes to being a disciple, I suspect we all have selective hearing. Some parts of the gospel message we hear loud and clear. The forgiveness part. The 'being a child of God' part. But we struggle when we hear things like 'Love your enemies' or  'Give everything you have to the poor'.  Surely those words are for somebody else? (Or so we assume!)

Let us pray that we can become less selective when it comes to hearing what God wants us to know. Those mountaintop words remain a daily challenge as we walk through the daily valleys of our everyday life. “This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him”.

For a musical interlude 'Mercy Me' sing 'Word of God - Speak'

Rev. Adrian Pratt

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