Monday, March 26, 2018

Dear Listener
Mark 12:32-37

As each new day brings us closer to the Resurrection, our mind continues to reflect on the precious blood that is our liberation, a gift that’s been given to us and received by all who choose to claim it. The Christ, in His words in today’s Scripture, calls for our watchfulness in view of the return of the master, for it is true, we do not know the day, nor the hour when the Lord returns.

The theme for this Lenten season's reflection pertains to the art of listening or the “Listening Way.” I see the listening way as a path to follow— one that calls us to be mindful of the time. Minute by minute and hour to hour, the Dear Listener remains woke.  Having ears to hear, we attend our heart to the sound, or that which comes from the very mind of God and now speaks to our soul. In all things, the listener remains vigilant.

John Coltrane—patron saint of all artists, African-American Classical musician, composer, and player of the saxophone—called out to the Dear Listener on his album A Love Supreme. In doing so, he was encouraging us to incline our ears to the anointed sound gifted to him by the power of the Holy Spirit that flowed from his saxophone, and caused our eyes to turn to the Christ, that one whose entire life was an expression of “A Love Supreme.”

St. John Coltrane recognized the Dear Listeners and called on us to be vigilant, which he said implies watchfulness against elements that might be destructive from within and without. In the gospel text for today, Jesus warns the disciples to be watchful, which for me bears in mind our need for both—to be vigilant listeners and watchful—and that they are also one in the same—for that which is not meant for our ears, God speaks to our heart, and that which our eyes cannot see, the Spirit of God brings it into view.

Such as it is in the gospel of Matthew 16:13-17—

Whom do people say that I the Son of man am? 14And they said, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

And so now the word of God speaks to the Dear Listener. The guiding spirit of the Holy One is whispering in the ear of those who have been called, who possess what the Christ Himself proclaimed as the spirit of truth.  We have received the Holy Spirit by the hearing of the word that the elect of God has been given the ears to hear. For now we see—and not just with our eyes.  Yes, we see with our hearts for we have heard the word of God with our ears and that sound vibration has been set upon the table of our hearts, and in hearing we have been saved and have received the vision for our journey, and the light of Truth has brightened our path, and now we know what it is that God would have us to know in this moment—All praise be to God!

Rev. Wanika K. Stephens
SFTS MDiv Student