Message from Linda
Pastor Linda's Message

  Linda

Message from Linda

Listening – a Vital Part of Christian Fellowship

 

As Christians we are called to listen for God’s voice of comfort and encouragement, and we are called to use our voices to help others. In Searching for Shalom, Ann Weems wrote, “It is with joy the angels sing when one of us can find the voice to say, ‘I love you’.” As a community of faith we ground all we do in a total devotion and centering in the love of God.

This love is so compelling and fulfilling that it ends up strengthening us and sending us into the world to love just as we ourselves have been loved.

As we grow in relationship with God, we live into fullness and grace; and we reach out to help others. Jesus fully shared the human condition. This is the basis for koinoia, which is Christian fellowship at its deepest level. Listening is a vital part of Christian fellowship as we let our quiet presence be a powerful witness to our love. Our presence brings not only the gift of ourselves into the relationship, but also, in and through us, the gift of God.

But listening is a complex art. Our ability to listen can be complicated by our own thoughts, feelings, and can be influenced by our own traditions, histories and assumptions. The quality of our listening can make a profound difference in any conversation. In those moments when we do hear what the other person is saying, we discover great depths in the human soul.

Douglas Steere said that to “listen” another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.  Really listening to what another person is saying is a part of loving that other person. When someone takes time to listen to you, they are taking time to honor and validate you.

Henri Nouwen considered listening to be a form of spiritual hospitality by “paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings”. He modeled a type of listening that incorporated the critical elements of spiritual presence, discernment and creativity called “spiritual companioning”. It was a way of validating people’s essential search for meaning.

One of the central themes of the Bible is God’s responsiveness to the human condition. Moses stood before the burning bush in the wilderness and heard the voice of God. The wonderful part of that text is that God heard the cry of God’s people. God listens to us. The universe in which we live is not deaf to the human situation. The Creator listens. We experience something of the character of the divine in our own lives, when we, too, listen carefully.

Blessings and peace,

Linda Bailey, Associate Pastor

 

 

 

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Last Published: July 18, 2019 9:10 PM
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