Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The best and worst places to hear
An unusual view from the stage of the London Coliseum, the capital’s biggest theatre, and its four levels of stalls, dress circle, upper circle and balcony.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
I”LL PUT a sub-text on today’s strapline “You’ll never walk alone…” by adding: “…unless you want to”.
If you go to the theatre or opera, you want to be assured of ‘good’ seats where you can hear well, especially in a huge interior like the London Coliseum or Palladium. How you position yourself makes a difference – and coming down a level or two is a good thing.
God is always speaking, guiding, reassuring, comforting and giving wisdom. After all He is a Father – the perfect Father – and that’s what fathers do.
Children routinely don’t listen, and teenagers routinely don’t want to hear, which is not quite the same thing although it has much the same effect. That’s us with our Father, all too often.
The barriers to hearing God are on our side. As well as not listening, there is not believing that God speaks and is interested in us. If you don’t have much of a relationship with someone, especially someone important, why would they would be interested enough in you to speak to you? But that is putting our human assumptions on to God, and that’s a mistake.
The opposite side of that coin is when we feel ourselves to be important. In our society, that is the greater barrier, and the common one. To know God’s presence, like the characters we read about in the Bible, Moses and Gideon and Jeremiah and Peter the apostle, let’s come down a level or two. To hear Him, let’s position ourselves to catch His whisper. The way to be filled with “good things” is to be hungry, so the Bible says.
We’re all too used to doing it the other way. To meet the elite, we dress up, rather than dress down. In conversation, we impress with our wit and knowledge. The car we arrive in, is a status statement, the all-important first impression.
All of this makes a statement. It speaks of who we are. It also makes a statement about whether we are keenly interested, needful in fact, of what God might say to us, or whether we think He should be interested in listening to us. That’s the barrier that gets in the way of us hearing, and we put it there. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to remove. A bit like de-junking at home, removing what gets in the way of hearing needs regular attention.
In the words of Mary’s song, being on a throne is an invitation for God to tip us off it, and He does from time to time. Being rich in ourselves is an invitation to God to take us into a time of hunger and need – and that is where, with both shock and comfort, we often hear Him again.
Intentionally going down a level or two is a better way by far, than taking the tumble which is the well-known consequence spelt out in Proverbs 16:18.