For Lent and for the days that follow.
… And a voice came from the cloud:
“This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”
Listening – A Lenten Practice
This year as we move towards Easter, we hear the invitation to focus on Listening. Deep Listening is a wonderful practice during Lent as we prepare for Easter. Rather than giving up something that shouldn’t be a part of our life and then taking it back with enthusiasm at Easter, rather than disciplining ourselves in a ways that subtly strengthen our egos with a sense of our own willpower, rather than doing the digging work of self-reflection, take the time to focus on Listening.
In the scripture, we read Mark 9:7 where God speaks to the disciples and tells them to listen to Jesus. That short passage of scripture can be enough for many days or weeks! We must figure out how to take that word – listen – seriously and be wise on what and who we listen to. Do you hear the voice of Jesus? Do you listen to the internal tapes, the demands of the world, the pressures from others … or do you listen to the voice of love who came into this world because of love for all of us?
The Practice of Listening
Some practices that I have found helpful in growing to listen more deeply:
- Breathe – and pay attention to it!
- Slow down, be attentive to present moment and present place. (See The Good and Beautiful God, pg. 190, for exercises.)
- Listen to myself
- Listen to my body – aches, pains, tension – What do you, my body, want to say to me?
- Listen to my emotions – What is moving through me?
- Listen to my mind – Observe the pace and content, without engaging or judging it.
- Listen to others
- Be attentive to their body language, their words, their emotions, and their hidden codes.
- What are they saying to me? Seek clarity – ask them – are you saying …?
- Listen to Spirit of God
- God speaks to us through our location, through our bodies, emotions, and thoughts, through other people, and through sacred texts, music, or prayers. Open your heart to hearing God speak through many avenues.
- Learn to hear your Master’s voice, the voice that will call you “Beloved”, “Good Enough”, “My Own Child”.
- Don’t listen to any voice that condemns you. (Romans 8:1)
- Listen for voice of the one who came to earth out of love for you.
- LISTEN – with ears to hear with your heart.
Learn More about Listening
Some books I’ve found helpful on learning to Listen:
- Brad Jersak: “Can You Hear Me?”, Monarch Books 2006
- Jersak teaches about listening prayer, offering many true life stories and prayer exercises based on scripture and encountering God.
- Henri Nouwen: “Life of the Beloved”, Crossroad Publishing 1992
- Trying to explain his faith to a non-Christian friend, Nouwen teaches all of us to hear more deeply and live more truly from God’s name for us. We are Beloved.
- Michael Nichols: “The Lost Art of Listening”, Guilford Press 1995
- A classic and fundamental book on why and how to listen to others.
- McMahon and Campbell: “Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection within Christian Spirituality”, Tasora Books 2010
- Very practical and transformational. It helped me learn to listen to what God is saying to me through my body.
- James Bryan Smith: “Good and Beautiful God”, IVP Books, 2009.
- This book requires some investment of time with soul-training exercises, but people of our congregation who have worked through this book have found it illuminating and helpful.
Offered by Anne+
For Lent 2015