Leaning Into Luke
“No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” Luke 8:16-18
Smokey the Bear would so not be happy with the opening image here. An open flame under a bed? That is a fire hazard waiting to happen. And while we are at it, the ending is about as uplifting as Debbie Downer. So, if you have a lot, here have more the passages suggests on the surface. And if you are down to your last thread be careful because there is a pair of sharp scissors hovering perilously above you. To be clear, Jesus probably wasn’t talking about money or stuff we stuff our lives with. Although, it certainly is the case that the gap between the rich and poor is widening in heartbreaking ways. Jesus was trying to talk about the truth that once you see, you cannot unsee. Once you have a thought, you cannot un-think it. You know this when you toss and turn at night.
Did you notice how Jesus says, “pay attention to how you listen.” There are many ways of hearing. There is the kind of hearing where the words go in one ear and out the other barely leaving a trace. There is the kind of hearing where your brain holds the words, but they don’t really sink or settle or seep into your soul. There is deep listening where what you experience, encounter stays with you. Examples: when I say to my kids, “Can you pick up your sock?” Then, they walk right past it with nary a care in the world. There are also moments we don’t have the energy to listen. Then, there is the kind of listening where I do hear and even comprehend, but it is surface level. For me, this happens when people read me numbers and my mind struggles to keep them in the correct order. Finally, when I hear how much pain there is in the world from those who are pushed to the fringe and fray. When I see tears of our LGBTQ friends or laments of our African-American brothers and sisters. Or when a woman, who shattered the glass ceiling and got a doctorate, only to never be referred to by her earned title. Those sit uneasy in my soul.
How do you listen? How might you lean toward those you encounter this week? On this day after Valentine’s Day – to know that you are heard and giving the gift of hearing to others, is one of the most beautiful ways to love that I know.
Lord, listen to your children praying…help us listen as well to You and others. Amen.