Do you remember the old logo for HMV of a dog listening to an old grammar-phone? I didn’t realise that HMV stood for his masters’ voice and the ‘story’ of the logo was the dog hearing his owner on the grammar-phone and was confused.
God says “my sheep know my voice”, he also says “whether you turn to the right or to the left you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way of the Lord walk in it”. We as Christians believe in a God who speaks, yet perhaps we are not people who naturally find listening easy to do.
I have found in the Bible the story of Samuel incredibly challenging when as a Child he was in the temple but didn’t know God’s voice, and kept on mistaking God’s voice for the voice of his Rabbi Eli, until eventually Eli realised that the Lord was calling Samuel and taught him a prayer which was “speak Lord for your servant is listening”. I wonder if this is something the Church of Christ would echo, “speak Lord, for your servants are listening”.
In the book of Revelation there is a refrain at the end of each of the letters to the seven Churches of Asia Minor “he who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying too the Churches”.
Yet to hear God’s voice, we need to have soft hearts, in the book of Hebrews we get the refrain “today if you hear God’s voice do not harden your hearts”.
So, a challenge, are we listening to God?
Are we expectant to hear his voice?
Are we opening scripture?
Are we giving God time and space to talk to us?
Are our hearts open to what he has to say, or are our hearts hardened to what only hear what we want to hear?
Are we sharing with one another, the diversity of the body of Christ, to hear what he has to share through one another?
As I thought about this I began to think about how narrow the people we listen to actually is, how many of our Churches are run by middle class, university educated middle class males?
How much of our reading is from American mega Church pastors (again pre-dominantly white middle class university educated and male)?
Or if you move in theological circles white Europeans male academics from the 1950’s (Barth, Bonhoeffer, Moltmann, Tillich or Kirkergaard).
Interestingly too, when we read blogs and things on social media, rather than challenging our opinions the computer finds people who will agree with us, do we limit our reading and encounter to find people that confirm what we already think, or challenge out existing thinking?
Do we expect God to speak through people who look and sound like us?
I was talking with a friend today who was speaking about how he had to write an essay using only voices from the developing world, which profoundly challenged him encountering different people from a different world view, and yet enabled him to encounter something different of God.
So, where is God speaking?
Is God stretching us to search and seek him beyond the confines of our comfort zones?
Are we expectant to hear God’s voice from sources we might not have previously engaged with?
Let us live our lives with our hearts, eyes and ears open to encounter more of the revelation of God and wrestling and growing in all that we discover of him becoming more like him.