From The Rev. Edward Dondi, Church of the Resurrection, Merced
Called to be……”Listeners”
If today you hear God’s Voice, harden not your hearts. Psalm 95:8
In the days before refrigerators were common, many people used icehouses to keep their food cold. Essentially walk-in coolers, icehouses had thick walls, no windows and tightly-fitted doors. Ice was cut from frozen streams and lakes in the winter and brought into the icehouses, where large blocks were covered in sawdust to be used in the summer months.
A story is told of a man who lost a valuable watch while working in an icehouse.
Though his companions searched thoroughly through the sawdust, the watch wasn’t found. A small boy who heard about the lost watch and the fruitless search slipped into icehouse during the noon-hour, soon emerged with the watch in hand and returned it to his astonished owner who asked how he managed to find it. The boy replied, “I closed the door, lay down in the sawdust and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”
This refection comes in the backdrop of Ash Wednesday which begins the Christian celebration of Lent. Forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare believers for the celebration of Easter. A part of Lent is the call to quiet and reflection. A call to still ourselves and consider our faith lives. We cease searching and striving for the external markers of success and fulfillment and settle in to listen to what the still small voice of God is saying in our lives and in our hearts. It is an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I able to hear the voice of God?
Our lives are filled with noise. From politicians, from our televisions and computers, tablets phones and radios, even some gas pumps feature built-in speakers and screens for advertisement. And it is not just media. Our lives are packed to the brim with things that require our attentions. All these depends on what you do and your area of responsibility. For me who spend most of the time in a healthcare Institution, it is the patient who wants to speak to a chaplain, the pager that goes off, the monitors which keep always flashing, often beeping, Codes, sirens and call lights all require immediate action.
While our faith affirms that God is in all these things, still Lent calls us away. Lent calls us to our inner room. To an extra moment of quiet in the car or our office. To the wonder in the woods. To soften our hearts and listen for the voice of God. The still, small voice that whispers and waits inside us. Calling us to return. Calling us to faithfulness. Calling us to begin our Lenten journey back home to the God who loves us. How can you make space in your days this Lent to hear the still, small voice of God in your heart?
Like the watch in the icehouse, what treasure are you seeking on your Lenten journey?