Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lenten Thoughts 4

What We Don’t Want to Hear

“Let these words sink into your ears.” Luke 9:44

We’ve become pretty quick at hitting the mute button. And most of us can mute things even without a remote. We have the ability to turn off when we’re about to hear something we don’t want to hear.

“Let these words sink into your ears.”

The disciples shut down their hearing whenever Jesus talked of his coming betrayal, suffering, death and resurrection. And even though he pleaded with them to pay attention, they didn’t listen. As soon as they heard the word “betrayal,” they muted Jesus. And why wouldn’t they?

Betrayal meant someone close to him someone who knew him, someone he trusted was going to turn on him. And that meant one of them.

Jesus knew that doing the right thing, doing God’s thing, would always make the powerful angry. Jesus knew that fear of those with power would make even his closest friends do things that did not reflect who they truly were. Jesus knew that fear of those with the power to hurt them, even kill them, would make his disciples do things that could kill their spirits.

Jesus also knew what is beyond fear and betrayal: grace and hope. But you have to listen hard for that.

And what about us? Which parts of the gospel do we embrace? Which parts do we mute?

You can learn a lot about yourself and your faith when you try to listen to those parts of scripture that you don’t want to hear. Are there some words of the prophets or some teachings of Jesus that make you uncomfortable or nervous?
“Let these words sink into your ears....Glenna Beauchamp

Our practice in the United Church when we study the scriptures is to remain open to questions and varying interpretations. We want to listen carefully for the Word of God to us. We don’t practice blind obedience. We ask why, and how one saying fits with another, and what did it mean, before it was meant for us.

I hope that these Lenten studies have given you an opportunity to give some thought to some of the scriptures and to the themes of the Lenten season. I appreciate the responses I’ve had from you. They have been thoughtful and insightful.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the services on Easter weekend.

Rev. Arty Miller

Thursday: 7:30 in the auditorium
Friday: 10:30 in the sanctuary.
Sunday: 9:00 in the gym for breakfast
Sunday: 10:30 in the sanctuary for Easter celebration