Imani MCC of Durham

a church where, through faith, all can experience and express God's irresistible love through worship, word, oneness, wonder and witness.

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

“The voice of the LORD twists the oaksman-listening-hand-to-ear
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” Psalm 29:9 (NIV)

“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11 (NIV)

“Hearing the Voice of the Lord”

When was the last time you heard the voice of the Lord and you were sure it was God’s voice? This may sound like a strange question, and maybe it is. Yet, our theology teaches that we can and do hear from God. We believe in a God who “speaks,” in fact we believe our God spoke everything that is into existence. I can’t think of a better time to hear from God than the beginning of a new year. So, what’s getting in the way of you hearing the voice of God as you seek to discern or co-create what 2012 has in store for you?

Distractions! Noise! You name it, and that’s what gets in the way of us hearing the voice of God. God knows there are more distractions that can interfere with our reception of God’s voice in our own lives and heart than can be numbered. If you’re not being distracted by someone or something out in the world, there’s no doubt you’re being bombarded by the ceaseless (and at times senseless) noise in your own head and heart. Just try to sit still for ten minutes to listen for God’s voice and see what happens. It could be scary, if it weren’t for the fact that there is One Who stands with us and gives us all the time we need to move into a space (within and without) where we can listen and actually hear God’s voice.

In the two lectionary readings, from the Psalms and the Gospel of Mark, we’re given examples of how to move through, or move with, the distractions that can keep us from hearing God’s voice. In the case of Psalm 29 we’re reading a Psalm that is an adaptation of a song that was sung in worship of the Canaanite deity Baal (the fertility, rain, thunderstorm god). The Israelites took this (distraction) song and made it a hymn to the God they understood to be the One Who made and sustains everything. In their case, the distraction actually became a means of connecting with the voice, and glory, of God.

In the text from Mark 1 we see Jesus being baptized, an experience which ended with him hearing the voice of God. What was the distraction? In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism John the Baptizer could have been the distraction. It was John who said to Jesus, “You come for me to baptize you?! You should be baptizing me!” (Paraphrased) Jesus knew what his call was at this moment and he was obedient to this call, which meant overcoming a potential distraction from John the Baptizer. This is how he brought glory to God throughout his life and ministry … moving past distractions.

In 2012 what do you need to do to really hear the voice of God, beyond the distractions and noise that would prevent us from doing so? What environments, people, books, music, practices, places, whatever usher you into the Presence (of God) in such a way that you know you can/will hear from God if you only allow yourself to get and be there? Let’s make a commitment to ourselves now  to be in these places/situations every chance we get in 2012 … hopefully daily. As we do, I’m sure we’ll leave our times of listening for God’s voice knowing we are pleasing to God and ready to give glory to God’s name through our daily living.

Peace

Living Faith: This week take the time to get clear on three methods (spiritual/life practices) that usher you into the Presence and allow you to really hear God’s voice. Take the time to use as least two of these practices this week. God has something to say to you and you surely don’t want to miss out on hearing it!

"Speak to My Heart" Faith Evans

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