listening soon, Lent approaches its end, reflection 4a

29 Mar
a listening, hearing, touching Jesus

How, when, does God speak?
First, he listens. He listens to our words and thought; to our hearts and minds; to our acts and inactions. As he did with Elijah, when Elijah after a an apogee moment hits his personal abyss, God listens and then directs,

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1st Kings 19: 11 – 14

After first listening, God speaks. Elijah hears the sound of the whisper: it calls him out from his inner cave, to an opening. Then Elijah hears Yahweh’s whisper, his question: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

The Lord God whispers Elijah’s name to close his question. Why? Because Yahweh hears and sees us at our lowest, the rock bottoms of our emptinesses. And then he whispers into our abyss, calls us from our caves, our isolation, so we can listen with our hearts to him. He knows our names, as he knew Elijah’s. We are know. Seen. Heard. Whispered to.

This is the historical purpose of Lent: to whisper to our hearts, our minds. And this is not just how God speaks. It is also how he listens.

And how does the Lord God listen? As he begins his ministry, Jesus in his home town shows,

from Mark 2, NLT

‘When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus sees faith. His teaching stops and he hears the paralysed man of his whispered, unvoiced, unspoken isolation. Jesus hears the crippling sins. Yet, while hearing, Jesus also sees. Jesus sees the men’s faith; he listens deeply when he sees faith. Here, Jesus hears the heart and thoughts, the real need of the paralysed man, and then speaks, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus does not speak the paralysed man’s name as Yahweh did with Elijah. Jesus names, claims the hurting man as a father with ‘my child.’ He is restoring the man to childhood innocence. But… this is a public healing, so…

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”’ Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralysed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralysed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

Jesus hears the hearts whispers; the heart’s thoughts. Both of sinners and the faithful; of teachers of the religious law and the isolated. He hears you, me. He sees us as his children. He wants us to ‘jump’ as a child. To jump into faith.

As we approach the end of Lent and begin Holy Week, my Lord, see, listen, touch and heal me. Heal my Jesus.

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