Last evening at CSF our theme was “Listening”. We’ve been examining spiritual disciplines this semester and previously we had looked at speaking, service and prayer. With all of this sort of outward focused, with the emphasis on our actions whether serving or speaking to others or talking to God in prayer, it seemed to make sense to think about listening.
I challenged the students to be aware of what we are listening to in the media, to be especially skeptical if all the voices we hear are simply affirming what we already think. From that, one challenge was to sit down with someone from a group we might tend to generalize, and listen to them. The goal is not to listen so that we can then prove them wrong, but rather to listen so we can understand them as an individual.
As James says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (1:19-20)
Then we moved on to listening to God. This is where Psalms comes in as I shared Psalm 46:10 , where God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Yet, the entire of Psalm 46 is worth reading and I encourage you to go read it now.
Read Psalm 46.
It is hard to be still and know God, to listen for God, when we are constantly inundated with a cacophony of noise. Our world is loud. So the primary challenge I left the students with was to take time this weekend to disconnect. Turn everything off, leave the phone behind and simply listen. Perhaps walk in nature or on the treadmill. Sit in your dorm or in your car. But wherever and however it is, sit in silence.
Perhaps in the silence, we can learn to hear God.