Thursday, September 23, 2010

dhyana-the group

Tonight we'll talk about listening and recognizing God's voice.

Scripture says "My sheep hear my voice." John 10:27. I remember once our pastor did an experiment with the children during his children's sermon. While he had the kids at the front of the sanctuary seated at the floor, he had some of their parents speak out loud from where they were sitting. The children were instructed to react if they recognized the voice of the person who was speaking. He pointed out that we, as children of God, recognize His voice simply because we are His children.

But more than that, we recognize our parents' voices, and God's voice, because we are tuned in by habit and training. As we grow up as children (and even before we are born) hearing the voices of our parents, we also grow to recognize God's voice and presence in our lives.

I found this anecdote online at Sermon Central this morning:

"Two men were walking along a crowded city sidewalk. Suddenly, one of the men remarked, "Listen to the lovely sound of that cricket," But the other man could not hear the sound. He asked his friend how he could hear the sound of a cricket amid the roar of the traffic and the sound of the people. The first man, who was a zoologist, had trained himself to hear the sounds of nature. He didn't explain to his friend in words how he could hear the sound of the cricket, but instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a half-dollar coin, dropped it onto the sidewalk, and watch intently as a dozen people began to look for the coin as they heard it clanking around amid the sounds of the traffic and the sounds of the crowded city living.

He turned to his friend and said, "We hear what we listen for."

So. We hear what we listen for. Huh. Sound simple. NOT!

I wish I had more to offer than this, but this is all I have: Sit. Listen. But don't try to make it happen. Let God's voice come to you. How do we know it's God's voice we are hearing? I think it's like when your mom says "YOU'LL JUST  KNOW" when you find the person you'll marry. And she also says "you can't make it happen. It just will."

Here's another story to illustrate that point from inward/

Author James Finley tells of a conversation he once had with trappist monk Thomas Merton. "Merton once told me to quit trying so hard in prayer. He said: 'How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun.' A small green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe and juicy beside its small green counterparts. Like the birth of a baby or the opening of a rose, the birth of the true self takes place in God's time. We must wait for God, we must be awake; we must trust in God's hidden action within us."

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