Reflection – Listening Ears
Words change our lives, don’t they? Sometimes they are words of a song. Quite often they are words beautifully arranged in poetry. Many of you reading this will, of course, be aware of well-chosen words in the hymns and worship songs we sing.
Most words that change our lives are the words that we hear. In recent months we have all had to listen to all sorts of news and information to keep us safe. There has been information given directly from the Prime Minister from 10 Downing Street. It has been most important that we listened to the information and guidance, and, having listened, we were able to understand and act upon what we were told.
Hearing is one of the senses that we don’t want to lose isn’t it? People who suffer with hearing loss always seem to be at a great disadvantage. If you have good hearing, just put your fingers in your ears and turn on the radio, and you will soon realise what a disadvantage hearing loss is.
Jesus in our Gospel reading today, on two separate occasions says, ‘Listen’. Before He tells the Parable of the Sower, He says to the gathered crowd, ‘Listen, a sower went out to sow.’ He then went on to tell the crowd the now well-known parable about the sown seeds growing on various sorts of ground. At the end of the parable he says, ‘Let anyone with ears, listen!’
Later, when the crowds had gone away, the disciples asked Jesus why he speaks in parables. Jesus explains, ‘hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ Later he says, ‘their ears are hard of hearing.’ And again later, ‘But blessed are your ears, for they hear.’ It is easy to listen, but we don’t always hear what is being said.
My youngest grandson started his Reception year at school last September, and one of the first things his teacher asked the class to make was a decorated headband. Once this was done, she drew ear-shapes on card and asked the children to colour them in, and then with help, they stuck them on to the headband. When the teacher wanted them to learn something important, she would say to them, ‘Go to your tray and put on your listening ears.’ What an easy way to ensure the children were listening and hearing what she had to say.
How is your hearing? Do you hear well? Do you listen though, or is what you hear just background noise?
God spoke to Moses from the middle of a burning bush. The bush was not consumed by the fire. Moses told God that he wasn’t good enough to carry out what God had asked him to do, and God said, ‘I will be with you.’
God spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper. Elijah was in the wilderness and God sent a furious wind, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake either. Then came a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire was the soft whisper of a voice, and the Lord was in that still small voice.
Jesus said, ‘Ask and it will be given to you.’ We ask God, through Jesus, for many things: peace in the world; justice; freedom from sickness; and so our list goes on. We ask and expect our prayers to be listened to, and answered.
God speaks to us in many ways through words, poetry or music. Sometimes it is in His still, small voice. He asks us to obey two commandments, love Him, and love our neighbour as our self. Do we hear, and are we listening?
Make sure you have your ‘listening ears’ on. You just don’t know what you might be hearing!