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Message From Pastor Luke- A Season of Listening

posted Jun 25, 2018, 10:57 AM by Tracey Morris

I’ve got a little neighbor boy that recently turned three. His older brother has always been the verbal one, talking your ear off and waxing philosophical, so young Henry would nod and point and generally get what he needed.

Just recently, he’s decided to jump in feet first to the world of conversations. So, as kids do, he’ll give you a knowing look and spew out a jumble of words that make perfect sense to him while requiring you to replay it multiple times to decipher. We recently had a chat that made me listen as intently as I have in quite a while. When we hashed things out and he was convinced I understood his point, he nodded, smiled, and moved on. I was a little mentally exhausted, but felt some semblance of victory in having waded through a primer on conversing in ‘three-year-old’.

Listening was the key for me. I think we often take for granted the messages that are coming our way. We assume too much. When is the last time you read a user agreement on your computer or followed the instructions on operating a new device? We don’t take the time we used to in listening, in processing, or in understanding. Who has time for that?

I shared this story in a sermon once:

Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. "I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day," he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. "Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable.

"I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, 'Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin' and I'll tell you really fast.' "Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, 'Honey, you can tell me -- and you don't have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly." "I'll never forget her answer: 'Then listen slowly.'"

Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, pp. 13-14

I feel like summertime in the church year is a great opportunity to listen slowly. It is the time when we are making plans for the coming program year, wondering how things have gone in the past and what God is calling us into for the future. It is a time for reflecting.

Ecclesiastes 3 talks about the many seasons in life. Seasons to weep and laugh, seasons to keep or cast away, a season to keep silence, and a time to speak. Now, I can’t really keep silence and be effective in my call, but I can definitely take some time to be intentional in my listening. That said, I’d like to hear your story. Tell me about your faith, and your life, and your dreams for St. Paul’s.

Some of these conversations are best held in settings I like to call ‘Cottage Meetings’. A Cottage Meeting is a gathering of up to 10 friends or neighbors and I’d plan to facilitate some discussion about what it looks like to be church together. These are a great way for us to get to know each other.

So, let’s gather together and listen slowly to each other. I’d love it if you would consider hosting a cottage meeting in your home and inviting a group of your friends and neighbors from church to attend. Please get in touch with me at church to let me know you are willing to host and we can put a time on the calendar! It would be a great time of fellowship and listening.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Luke

Send me an email at pastorluke@stpaulsinhanover.org if you feel moved to open your home and host a cottage meeting!