Listen to the word what God has spoken,
Listen to the one who is close at hand.
Listen to the voice that began creation,
Listen if you don’t understand.
~ Canadian folk song
Breath Prayer: “listen for the One” “close at hand”
Gathering together for worship is a spiritual practice. It is an intention to join minds and voices in praise and thanksgiving. It is the singing of hymns many of us have sung our whole lives, and yet that someone will be singing each Sunday for the very first time. It is the hearing of the Living Word of God. It is sharing prayers that mark the places where we have sinned. It is sharing prayers that seek forgiveness and reconciliation. It is participating in the rituals of baptism and communion.
This chant invites and welcomes us into the listening each time. Into the listening, this time. Listen for what is being said, sung, prayed. Pay attention. Even if you don’t understand –listen. Focused listening, faithful listening, holy listening encourages us to stay connected and engaged to the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
The first time we sang this folk song in worship, I cried. “Listen even if you don’t understand.” It’s not easy to listen when you don’t understand. Most of us turn away. Most of us talk-over. Most of us argue. But here we are invited to listen. Perhaps my tears acknowledge the deep gratefulness when my heart feels heard.
What would change in our relationships with one another if this became our practice? Staying in the conversation, staying in the moment ~ even if we don’t understand. But staying, listening in and through.
Prayer: Loving God, we listen for you this day. Speak your wisdom to us so that we might best serve you. We give you thanks for your loving presence. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.