From one CSF (Church Set Free) member to another to me, thinking on Jesus, meditating on Scripture, I picked up on one that swirled around in one member’s head and a comment someone else made: “To ‘hear’ was to ‘believe’ and to ‘believe’ was to ‘experience.’ This is how community spreads wisdom and support and love. Thank you, Paul and Don.
Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount by waiting for his followers to listen.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountainside; and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1
As a former elementary school teacher, I always identify with this verse.
I would look out at my charges, a bit rowdy, having just followed me into the classroom from recess, yet anxious to learn. It was important to settle them, get their attention, because I was going to teach them something they hadn’t heard before, a new concept.
Often, instead of standing in front of the class to lecture them, I would walk over to the carpeted area, filled with comfortable pillows. It was a quiet nook, an alcove they knew was special. It was a place where they could nestle in and listen to my words.
As I sat in an old rocker, the room became quiet. They would wait in anticipation as I signaled them over, section by section. They padded over with soft steps, taking a pillow, voices nearly inaudible, while the others arrived. When I spoke, it was in a low voice. They paid attention, wanting to hear every word.
Because they listened and heard, they experienced the lessons at a deeper level. They thirsted to know, and caught on quickly. When it was time to undertake the lesson, they worked in pairs or trios and helped each other with the assignment. Application and community.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28
When will we, as rowdy, reactive adults, slow down long enough to settle in and listen? When will we quiet our voices, opinions and feelings of entitlement long enough to truly hear? When will we allow ourselves to experience the message of Jesus at a deeper level?
When will we surrender ourselves to apply his words and create community instead of division?
How long will it take for us to listen to His words, really hear them, and experience how wide, how long, how high and how deep God’s love is? (Ephesians 3:18)