Thursday

Then pay attention to how you listen. (v.18)

Luke 8: 16-18 Thursday 11 February 2021

Psalm 76

Background

These three verses help us reflect on three core images which describe Jesus. First, Jesus talks about light in the darkness. The image of light is used in the Gospels over and over again to represent Jesus himself and his life-changing impact. It would be ridiculous to go to the trouble of lighting a lamp and then hiding it – a light belongs on a lamp-stand so that it benefits those in the room. Would someone go to the trouble of getting to know Jesus, letting his light flare up within them, and then keep that light hidden from others? Perhaps if faith in Jesus brought conflict with others, you might try to do so – and many Christians have had to face tension and even persecution because of their faith. But, says Jesus, the light cannot be hidden for ever. Behind his words may lie an awareness of the stress and anxiety created by trying to conceal an authentic encounter with Christ.

Secondly, and very briefly, there is a short reference to careful listening. Listening skills are part of everyday life for many – we learn the techniques of reflecting back, watching body language, asking open questions, and so on. We appreciate those who listen to us well, and feel hurt by those who don’t give us their full attention. When we belong to a community centred on the Word of life, it is worth listening as attentively as we can to that Word, and all that Jesus has to say to us. We grow as disciples when we give Jesus our undivided attention.

Thirdly, there is imagery around giver and gift. Jesus emphasises that there is an unending flow of giving in the living water of his love. This challenges our preconceptions. We often speak of a zero-sum game, meaning that if you receive more, I receive less because there is only so much to go round. Jesus wants us to understand that so long as we are in touch with his goodness, there is no limit to what we can receive – we are not in competition with one another.

To Ponder:

  • What pressures might lead someone in today’s world to try to hide their Christian faith? What could the Church do to help them?
  •  Think about a time when you felt that you were really able to listen well to someone. How might this experience deepen your understanding of attending to Jesus as the Word of God?

 

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