DayBreaks for 12/11/14 – A Time for Listening
Barbara Brown Taylor tells about the day the great poet, W. H. Auden, read some of his works at Princeton . The hall was packed with hundreds of students and faculty. They had come to hear “the great one.” But when Auden (then an old man) began to read, his voice was so soft that even the microphone couldn’t pick him up. So people began whispering to their neighbor: “What did he say?” And those who thought they had heard a part of what he’d said, whispered back the part they’d heard – or what they remembered from a prior reading of Auden, triggered (in that moment) by what they thought they’d heard. While others, not quite hearing – and not quite knowing – guessed at what he was saying. And pretty soon, the whispers drowned out the poet.
Isn’t that sad? They were at least partly responsible for their own frustration. On reflection, though, doesn’t that sound a bit like what happens in many churches today? Why is it that there be so much interest in the word of God, yet so little clarity about the word of God and what it teaches? Perhaps, like those students and faculty at Princeton, we are better at whispering than at listening and in all our own noise-making, we have drowned out what God wants us to hear.
There have been many times in my life that I wish God would scream. Or shout. At least raise his voice. Getting in my face, as it were. As to why God doesn’t, I have no answer. I wish I did. I don’t know why He speaks so softly…unless, of course, His voice would kill us if we even heard Him in a normal voice (which is probably true). Perhaps it is just a measure of His tenderness toward us.
What I do know is what we know about the Incarnation and the birth of the Christ Child. God came to the world (with the barest hint of a whisper) in the form of a child. A speechless child.
How is your hearing?
Proverbs 20:12 (NLT) – Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD.
PRAYER: God, I’m grateful that You don’t yell at me, though there are times I wish I could hear You better. Open my ears to hear You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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