Communication is fundamental to the shape of our life. The quality of expression and care in listening enhances that communication. It is the dynamic of life that connects us with one another at our most significant interior. As that quality of communication increases, we might find ourself beginning to talk of the relationship we experience as having the quality of something like soul friends.
Communication that expresses our thoughts clearly so that the listener understands exactly what we are seeking to communicate will empower both. From family, to work, to a social context, quality connection becomes the wellspring of the spirit of life.
Humanity is empowered. The ultimate model for a Christian is found in the words of Jesus, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst’. Our connectivity takes us ever deeper into the spirit of Jesus.
RELIGION AS A NEGATIVE
When we think of religion many will immediately think of a list of rituals instructions or demands placed upon one’s life. As a result, it may even leave us feeling inadequate. It may be a dividing or diminishing experience.
Jesus discovered there was too much of this in the lives of the people of his day. He criticized, the Jewish religious leaders for they placed heavy burdens upon people. Jesus declared, ‘They tie onto people’s backs, loads that are heavy and hard to carry, yet they aren’t willing even to lift a finger to help them carry those loads.’
RELIGION AS POSITIVE
Of course those of us who regularly come to church, have not found this to be the case. Yet it would appear that in our own time, there are so many people feeling the same negative way about religion as was the case in Jesus time.
AN ALTERNATE WAY
This was a primary concern of Jesus. He refocused peoples attention by calling them to reawaken to a new heart of religion. Love has many faces, such as care for those in need like the Good Samaritan or the work of healing and miracles like the feeding of the 5000. But today, our gospel highlights a further example. It is an awakening to the inner perception of a quality relationship. Jesus centres his teaching around the ability to hear his voice.
HEARING THE VOICE
He declares, ‘My sheep hear my voice and they follow me’. Listening is one of the lost arts of our human behaviour, even though it is so fundamental in so many ways, most particularly to a life as spirit. I’m not talking about a different or strange voice. I’m talking about the quality of listening in its many possibilities.
Jesus made a point of emphasizing the human capacity of listening throughout his ministry. Firstly the most obvious way was his healing of the deaf mute beggar…Any disability is a sadness and Jesus highlighted the importance of even our physical hearing.
One of the great scriptural teachings that Jesus shared, was the instruction, ‘That he who has ears to hear let him hear.’ It was the call to listen deeply to what is happening or being said. Don’t just take things at face value. So often, there is so much more to hear. Our words carry many levels of meaning. They are worth taking time to think more broadly about the full range of possibilities.
Occasionally we read of Jesus having an extraordinary experience in prayer. He proclaimed at Lazarus raising, ‘Father I thank you that you have heard me that they may believe.’ The people thought it had thundered. All that we can say is that the mind is infinite and therefore it’s potential is extraordinary.
The human hearing capacity is extraordinary, from the obvious sounds of our day to the unidentified mysterious depths.
Its importance is its capacity to unite us, with one another, with our environment, ultimately with the divine presence in all creation. The unity of all things is a vital sign of God’s reality.
HEAR JESUS VOICE
Jesus, the Christ is the divine revelation of the God who fills all and is in all. Jesus speaks of those who hear his voice as being his disciples. This is his call to people to hear in such a way that we enter into the unity of all life. This is to discover the reality of life as spirit. From physical hearing, to meaning behind the words of others, to the deep sounds of silence.
Enhanced hearing at whatever level is to know eternal life, and once awakened to it, it cannot be snatched away. To so value our hearing is a pathway to discovering Jesus as the universal Christ. It is vital in our call to follow him.