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Uptown: Recognizing God’s Presence, Part 2


Fr. Greg Methvin (email)

Recognizing God’s Presence, Part 2

When some speak of God’s presence, they will often mention a word. God gave them words, not from an angel or writing in the sky, but through Scripture reading, prayer, or another person.

The words come with power to comfort or guide, and feel different than say a weather report or a commercial. God’s words get under our skin and fortify and nourish our souls.

The Bible reflects God’s preferred means of working and making Himself known. God creates with world by speaking words, and when He comes to earth, the Bible refers to Jesus as the Word made flesh.

So if God is speaking, why aren’t more people hearing? Part of the problem I think is that we have such a difficult time listening. Paying attention and listening for God’s word does not come easily to us.

In the Book of Isaiah we read of a person fully devoted to God and trying to live out God’s direction for their life. This serious follower of God writes, “Morning by morning, he (God) wakens my ear to listen…” Apparently, listening is so difficult it requires an act of God to unstop our ears.

What’s blocking our hearing? Jesus points out the problem is not with God’s ability to speak. In fact, God’s word is like a farmer trying to get a harvest. The farmer scatters the seed, but in some cases, hits hard ground. A person is completely closed, and in some cases resistant to God’s activity. They don’t hear because they choose not to listen.

Sometimes the listener is like a plot cluttered with rocks and debris. The word just doesn’t have enough room, time or opportunity to be received and take root in a person’s heart. At other times, the seed gets going but is stunted by weeds that steal nutrients and crowd out the crops ability to grow. Such a listener hears God’s word, but allows other priorities to overshadow and supersede God’s wisdom and direction. So in the end, nothing much changes.

Listening is tough and is challenged by numerous demands and distractions. So how can God get his word to us? Are we willing to carve out a bit of time to be exposed to God’s words as found in Scripture and experienced in prayer? The British preacher, F.B. Meyer once said, “God’s word most often travels along the thin wire of Scripture.” The least we can do is pick up the phone on the other end of the line and listen.

Our tradition provides daily readings of Scripture through the Daily Lectionary and Sunday readings. Apps and online guides make it easily available. What if you were to discover that God has been calling all these years and is merely waiting for us to learn to listen?

Blessed Lord, your Word is life. Unstop our ears, de-clutter our calendars, and silence the meaningless noise that keep us from hearing your voice, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Uptown Sermon Series: Jan 13-Feb 3

Job:
The Loneliness of Hard Times
Listen Now

Samson:
Dealing with Regrets

Abraham & Sarah: When Dreams Don’t Come True

Mary of Bethany: Overcoming Grief and Shame

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