Listen Up…for God’s Call to You

Listen Up – When Children Teach Adults about God’s Love

reposted from Building Faith  – Posted by Tina Clark on  March 17th, 2014

faithTina Clark is the Family Minister at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Denver, CO. This article is based on a sermon which was written and delivered with help from the children and youth of St. Barnabas.

“So listen. Close your eyes and listen now. Hear the sound of your name, spoken in love, from the heart of your God, whose days are filled with thoughts of you, and who calls to you, singing your name into the world like a song.”

-Susan K. Bock, Liturgy for the Whole Church.

At different times of the year, we listen for different sounds. We spent Advent waiting and listening for the cries of a newborn baby. In Christmas we listened for the hymns that fill our hearts with joy and hope. We spent the season after the Epiphany listening to the words of our Savior from his baptism to his transfiguration. Twice, we listened and heard God’s pronouncement: This is my Son, the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.

At the top of the mountain, God added:  Listen to Him.

What is it that we listen for in Lent? This year, I have asked the children in my pastoral care to listen for the following truth: YOU are beloved by God. All of us need to listen for these words; all of us can choose to see and embrace ourselves as God’s beloved.  We may even open our hearts to the notion that God is, indeed, well pleased with us.

It is fascinating to see that young children know this already, deep in their hearts and without question. As we grow, however, it becomes harder to believe in our own goodness. Our instinct is to stand back, to call ourselves unworthy of that divine embrace. But in that moment we are cheating – cheating our community, ourselves, and our God, the one who calls us Beloved. Who are we to say we aren’t worthy, if God says that we are? Even during Lent? Especially during Lent!

Jesus says we are the light of the world. But as we grow up, fear and doubt try to dim that light. Fear and doubt shut our ears to God’s call; and our hearts, too. We find ourselves answering:

“I can’t.” “I don’t have time.” “I don’t know how.” “I’m afraid.” “I’m not sure You’re real.” “I’m not sure You’re really calling me.”

***

What are we afraid of, as we grow up? Afraid of looking foolish or different? Afraid of making too much work for ourselves? Afraid that what we have to give won’t be welcomed?

Jesus reminds us: Don’t light a lamp and then hide it; place it where it gives light to the whole house. Jesus says: “In the same way let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.”

So we have a little bit different idea about Lent this year. The idea of spending Lent listening to God’s call to us and deciding how we will answer; looking carefully inside ourselves and thinking about our light, the gifts we may have to offer in answer to God’s call.

The shines shines, outward.  We are making Lent a time to look outside ourselves and find ways to use our gifts to shine light on others. A time to use our words in kindness and peace, not in anger or judgment. A time to look for people who need to be lifted up in some way, and to share our strength with them.

When we shine our own light upon others, we lessen their darkness. Every light that shines brightens the world, and every lamp we light makes it possible for another lamp to be lit.

And that is what God is calling us to do.

“So listen. Close your eyes and listen now. Hear the sound of your name, spoken in love, from the heart of your God, whose days are filled with thoughts of you, and who calls to you, singing your name into the world like a song.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s