Pondering for Saturday, June 11, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 5: Year 2

Morning, Psalms 75 and 76; Evening, Psalms 23 and 27;

Numbers 3:1 to 13; Galatians 6:11 to 18; Matthew 17:1 to13:

“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!’”  (Matthew 17:5)

This is the second time we hear this proclamation from heaven.  In chapter three of Matthew after Jesus was baptized a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved,with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) We also read these words in 2nd Peter, chapter 1, verse 17 about the mountain top experience.  The big difference here is the addition of, “listen to him,” in Matthew’s Gospel account.  I am currently putting together a book wherein listening is the first of five “L’s” that leads to life enhancement and leadership.  More on that at another time.

Inherent in listening is learning and the expectation of amendment of life. Our duty here on earth, in this lifetime, is to prepare ourselves for our eternal time with God.  As much as the Book of Ecclesiastes talks about “all is vanity under the sun,” the writer sums the whole thing up in the last words from the Book of Ecclesiastes; “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Listening brings learning, which brings loving, which enhances living, and may someday call one to leading. At the heart of any Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is listening. But listening is an art, an under developed art. Too many of us do not know how to really listen.. Too many of us pretend to listen while internally developing our comeback statements. We don’t listen so as to really understand. Real listening leads to action.

Peter, James and John, on the Mountain, listened to God say who Jesus is. Their listening led them to learning, and loving. They then lived out their new Truth and became leaders in the Jesus movement.

I wonder if Russia listens to Ukraine (and the rest of the world with regard to Ukraine)  just wanting to live in freedom and safety, just as Russia also wants for itself. Why does the Russian Orthodox Church not take issue with what the Russian government is doing?  All Christians have the same Jesus whom we Christians are told to listen to.

God said, concerning Jesus, “This is my Son, the Beloved;with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”  This kind of listening requires not only the hearing part, but also the obeying part as well.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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