Formations lesson for Feb. 22: Listening Faithfully : Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004
February 7 2004 by Jimmy Allen

Formations lesson for Feb. 22: Listening Faithfully : Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004

Formations lesson for Feb. 22: Listening Faithfully

By Jimmy Allen
Focal passage: Luke 9:28-36

An important trait for parents and teachers is patience. We want to see children and students mature. We want to see them respect one another. We want to see them develop discipline. All this takes patience. We also want them to listen to us. If we aren't sure they are listening, we employ some tactic to make sure they do.

A child in a grocery store picks up a bag of candy and wants to put it in the grocery cart. The parent looks at the bag and tells the child to put it back on the shelf. The child pauses because she really doesn't want to put the candy back. The parent adds to the initial command: "Did you hear me?"

In our hectic, multi-media world, getting people to listen takes patience. Getting the disciples to listen took patience, too. The story of the transfiguration is dramatic and mystical. Yet one theme we can see in this story is listening.

Jesus as Listener

Luke 9:28-29

Luke is the only gospel writer to note that Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and that Jesus was, in fact, praying when the powerful encounter occurred. In other words, Jesus was listening.

Mother Teresa was interviewed once by a secular television reporter who asked about her prayer life, wanting to know what she said to God. The nun replied that she didn't speak to God. She listened.

A key element of prayer is listening. Are we missing encounters with God because we aren't willing to listen to God in prayer? We don't know what Jesus was praying about. We know that He was praying. We often associate prayer with talking. We express our praise. We confess. We give thanks. We petition. Those are important parts of prayer. Maybe, though, Jesus was simply listening - allowing God to speak to Him.

Listening to Moses and Elijah

Luke 9:30-31

Moses represented the law to Jews. Elijah represented the prophets. When they appeared with Jesus, they talked about the departure Jesus would accomplish at Jerusalem. Again, Jesus listened.

Discipline of Listening

Luke 9:32-33

At the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, James and John couldn't stay awake. But on top of the mountain of transfiguration, they did stay awake and were rewarded for it. They saw the glory of Jesus and the two with Him.

To be able to listen takes discipline. Someone who only focuses on the woes of life is not a good listener. Someone who is too lazy to be aware of others' needs is not a good listener. Someone who thinks they are more important than others is not a good listener. Good listening requires an effort on the part of the listener. Peter, James and John showed that effort.

With whom do we need to make a more disciplined effort to show we want to listen? Are we willing to listen even when we're tired?

Listening to Jesus

Luke 9:34-36

The disciples were terrified as they entered the cloud on top of the mountain. But they entered, and they heard a voice say, "This is my Son, my Chosen." This is a powerful line - the kind that probably put chills down their backs.

The voice didn't stop with those words. God said, "Listen to Him."

Why should God have to add that statement: "Listen to Him"? Shouldn't it suffice to hear God say that Jesus is the Messiah? Apparently not. The disciples had a difficult time understanding what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. Peter rejected the idea of Him being crucified. Instead, he liked the idea of Jesus being glorified like He was on the mountaintop.

The disciples' view of Jesus as the Christ needed to be expanded. God emphasized that they should listen to Jesus. They shouldn't try to mold Him into what they wanted or thought He should be. They should simply listen.

If everyone listened to Jesus, we would no longer have strife. We would no longer have wars. We would no longer have division. We can't control what others do. We can control what we do and how we respond to others. If we listen to Jesus, then we can be people who build unity and peace.

Or as St. Francis of Assisi wrote so poignantly: "Lord, where there is hatred, let me sow love."
2/7/2004 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen | with 0 comments




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