A man was crawling through a hot desert on his hands and knees, desperate for a drink of water. He came upon a person selling neckties. “Would you like to buy a nice necktie?” asked the salesman. “All I want is a drink of water,” croaked the man. The salesman had no water, so the poor fellow crawled on across the sand.
Eventually he came upon a beautiful restaurant. “It must be a mirage,” he thought, but as he drew nearer he saw it was real. With his last ounce of energy, he struggled up to the entrance and asked the doorman. “Please, sir, may I have a drink of water!” The doorman replied, “Sorry. You can only be admitted if you have a necktie.”
Life, like this desert where the man crawled in search for water, could go on and on that our priorities get scrambled. Sometimes, we get disappointed with the passage of time. Sometimes, we lose our senses. Sometimes, we lose our way.
This gospel is one of those times when Jesus had to assure his disciples that they are called to a different way of life. For three years, they ministered with him. They followed him. They believed in him. Jesus knew the disappointment they felt. And he had to build up their confidence on the value and meaning of sacrifice and the Cross that lay ahead.
The challenge that Jerusalem beckoned is a hurdle they needed to cross. And to remind them about what is beyond Jerusalem, our loving Savior took his closest disciples up a mountain.
God’s glory was revealed there. God called the carpenter of Nazareth his favored Son. God asked them to listen to Him.
This reminds me of a song I learned from childhood about a small jeep. The three verbs that stood out from that song were: Stop, Look and Listen.
Lent is a time in the church year where we are encouraged to stop, to put on the brakes and see the big picture. Lent is a past participle of the verb “lend,” reminding us that we have borrowed lives. The lives we live were just lent to us.
It is when we stop that we look up and see the God who loves us. It is when we stop that we look around and see the people God gave us to love. It is when we look inside us and see what love can do.
In the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes we loose track of where we are going. We have things to do, people to see, children to care, places to be. Sometimes we all fall into the demands of our work that we take for granted the grace that surrounds us, the people God has given to us.
I would assume that we take the time to talk to our loving God, that we do pray regularly, that we communicate with God through our prayers. During those moments, however, how many of us actually listen? How many of us stop what we are doing, reading, talking, mumbling and simply listen? Listening allows God to intrude into our lives and challenge us to live better lives. Listening creates moments of silence when we can hear God speaking to us and putting words into our hearts.
Kierkegaard’s prescription for the ills of the modern world was first and foremost our need to create silence. One of the prescriptions we could do for the ills of our own world is to simply listen.
This might be our proper time to stop, look and listen to God’s beloved Son. He is Jesus. He listened to His Father. So should we. We need to listen more to the Son.
28 February 2010