Lent Series

Wake up and Listen

The Third Sunday in Lent

March 7, 2021

Wake up and Listen

by Randall Curtis

Never miss a good chance to shut up. —Will Rogers

I have never been called a man of few words. And at 44 years old, it is a safe gamble that I will never have that said about me. You see, once a year I tell myself that I am sure it would make me a better person to go out in a tent and just be quiet for a while. I have seen other people more “spiritual” than me do this and it seems to work great for them. Surely this is the key.

Wind, bugs, running water, my fidgeting around trying to get comfy, the inevitable scream from some poor camper far away from me as they swat another mosquito. This is not a quiet place. Often I am amazed at just how loud everything is. I wonder what am I doing wrong.

But I listen.

I admit I have not learned from these annual trips how to be silent, quiet, and still. In fact, it typically takes another year for me to talk myself into doing it again. But what I have learned from the loud forest is that so much is going on in the world and I never listen to it at all.

These trips have been God slapping me in the face, telling me that all of this is going on around me in my everyday life. Wake up and listen.In today’s Gospel, Jesus walks into a temple and starts throwing over tables. He is telling people to listen to what is going on around them. It could be said that his whole life was about telling everyone to look outside themselves and listen to their neighbors and love the people around them.

I have been blessed recently to be a part of an eye-opening small group on race and justice, and in these gatherings I have come to realize that I haven’t been listening for a long time. As a white heterosexual man, I was doing what I could to be a good person while people around me didn’t have the same opportunities and chances to do good in their own lives. I wasn’t noticing that they weren’t in the discussion or even at the table. Like in the forest, it was not about being quiet, but about listening.

What is going on around you today that you are not listening to? 

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