Some of you might agree that being a grandparent gives you the right to talk about your grandchild anytime you want. It just so happens that I have something to share about Samantha that applies to today’s theme:
“Hear us Lord”
When Sammie was between 2 and 3 years old, she picked up on the pet names her parents called each other. She also learned their first names.
When she wanted her mother to pay attention to her, and mom was talking to someone, Sammie would start off with:
“ mommy…mommy…mommy…mommy! Then switch to Honey?…Honey?…Honey?…then she would get closer and put her hands on her mommy and raise her voice an octave and say:
“ COURTNEY COURTNEY COURTNEY COURTNEY!” until her mom paid attention. ( I had never heard a two year old call her mother by her first name!)
I used to think that a parent should teach a little child to be quiet and wait for mom to answer. I understand better now. At that young age, the child needs to know that mom or dad is there, is paying attention, is listening. They can’t stop until they get that assurance.
Do we do this with God? God is our parent, how many times do we cry out to be heard? Do we fear that we are not being heard? Do you ever feel like your prayer is falling on deaf ears, even though, intellectually, you know otherwise? Even though you realize you may not get the answer you want?
Let me assure you right here and now,
God IS listening.
God hears YOU.
I used to keep a prayer journal when my son was a teenager. There were so many things going on in his life that I prayed so much, I had to write it down in order to keep my thoughts straight, and somehow it made me feel as if I was praying more effectively.
Years later, I found that old journal and read it, and I realized, as I read my prayers, that every one of them had been answered. Not on the day I prayed, or even the same week, but not too long either.
God is listening.
The Lord does hear you.
Our prayers are heard, every word we speak or think, and every tear that falls, is also heard.
I want to talk about this first part of the scripture where Jesus is telling them that it is not what goes into one’s mouth that defiles the person, but rather what comes out.
Remember, God is listening!
So what does this mean, to defile ourselves by what comes out of our mouths?
Being followers of Christ, we are supposed to have become changed people. We are supposed to be growing in the Spirit, receiving gifts of the Spirit as we become ready for those gifts. We are supposed to be a blessing to the world around us, to pray for each other and those who hate us.
We are supposed to Love,
to BE love,
to show love,
to teach love,
to lead in love,
to lead to love,
to serve out of love.
God is listening.
The Lord does hear us. Our Lord is listening through the eyes and ears of the smallest child. Our Lord is listening through the eyes and ears of the homeless ones on the street, or in the shelter and soup kitchen. God is listening through the ears of the alcoholic, the addict, the men and women trapped in prostitution. God is especially listening through the ears of the children who are trapped in that same world.
God is listening through the eyes and ears of the single mother on food stamps and welfare. God hears the desperate loneliness of the mentally different, the confusion floating in their mind, and God hears what you say and do for them.
We have all heard in the news about the tragic death of Robin Williams.
I wondered why? Why would he do this to himself when he had everything? Did you wonder too? I have found out that he didn’t have everything after all. He had Parkinsons. He lacked self esteem, he felt guilt over things he had done in the past and was not able to find a way to forgive himself. He was bi-polar. I can tell you from experience that the meds for this disorder will rob you of your creativity. I can imagine how he might have been feeling, having just come out of a rehab, probably in a place in his mind where his creativity was hidden, he could see only that horrific darkness of hopelessness and never ending pain.
And the people who have taken lives with guns. The ones that break into a school or movie theater, or a student in a school who brings the gun to class.
God heard the words that may have set them on the path they took. Did God hear the words of love spoken? Did someone try to show them that love is the way? We don’t know their stories, we only know the outcome. But if faced with a situation like this, what would God hear you say?
I am telling you this because we all need to understand the human condition better than we do. How can we break through the darkness
if we don’t use the Love God gave us to sooth the shattered soul? Some people will refuse to hear, but God. Is. Listening, and we must try to be the voice that makes a difference.
Words that we say without thinking, without love, will tear down someone’s self esteem that may already be damaged. Even when we think we are speaking words of teaching, of correcting behavior, and even expressing our own hurt, if the words are not spoken in real tones of love, they will come out harsh and damaging. It is not enough to INTEND to speak in love, to be harsh and stern and then lie to ourselves that we are speaking out of love. The person we are speaking to must be able to feel the love as we speak our words to them, as we do things to help them.
Jesus weeps when we defile ourselves with harsh unloving words. This means that when we serve, we need to be ready to do so, take care of yourself so that you are rested and ready to be patient, pray for God to give you the words that need to be heard in the manner that creates love.
If you find that you have to be there for someone when you ARE tired,
it is good to remember that even though you are tired, the person you are helping is probably worse off and in great need.
God is listening through the frightened ears of the people in Gaza, Isreal, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the rest of the middle east and Africa. Our Lord is listening through the ears of the starving people in India, the displaced in Haiti and Malayasia.
Jesus hears every tear that falls.
What does Jesus hear us saying and see us doing about these situations?
Are we giving enough money to the initiative Abolish Poverty, End Suffering? To special offerings? It is not possible for every one of us to go to these places and give aid in person, but we can support those who must make the decisions about what to do, and we can pray.
We must pray because God is listening.
What do we do with the prayer list printed in our weekly bulletin?
God hears the needs of those that WE have put on this list, are we praying for them after we go home on Sunday? If we are praying for them, the prayers are being heard. If we forget and leave that list folded in a purse or pocket, that is heard as well!
God is listening through the ears of your next door neighbor, the checkout clerk at the grocery, the tired nurse taking care of your loved one. Jesus hears that smile you give to a person who has served you
even though they would rather be somewhere else. Jesus hears the words of thanks, the words of blessing and the tone and sincerity with which you speak.
God is listening.
And what does God hear?
What words are we speaking in the name of Christ? Are we judging?
Are we looking down upon someone out of disgust? Or are we looking and seeing them in order to lift them up?
God hears with His eyes. Our Lord hears more than what we say, our thoughts and actions are heard. Our lack of action is heard. Let us not defile ourselves by forgetting who we are, and Who we are to serve.
We serve the Risen Lord. The Christ. And we find the Divine in everyone we meet. Everyone, from the smallest child to the most desperate person clinging to life.
Tell them your story. Talk about the love of Jesus, what that love can do.
Tell what you have seen and felt. Tell someone you love them, tell them you want to help in any way. Ask them how you can help.
Tell them there is a place you know of where they will be welcome and loved.
How do people know that God is listening to them? They know because God brought you to them on that particular day when they really really needed to hear from God. Those we are called to serve also have a story they need to tell. They need to tell it and they need to be heard.
God hears all of us, all the time. There is no time when He is not listening.
Cry out to Jesus, for yourself , for your mission in the path, for each other.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Blessed Mother Teresa