Tuesday, November 3, 2009
listening and speaking out.
Good morning God,
I saw you in my dreams last night. You were speaking with the judges in the Hague, the court of human rights, trying to plead a case. From my place somewhere at the back of the courtroom I really strained to hear what you had to say, but every time you spoke, there was a great rustling as every court official and spectator shuffled and searched through reams and reams of paper. The sound of beaurocracy and legalism effectively drowned out the sound of your voice and your wisdom was lost to me and to the court. I wanted to scream for silence, to demand that people just leave the great mounds of legal briefs alone so that we could all LISTEN but I discovered to my horror that I had no voice, and that the only way I would be able to communicate was to write a letter to the judge.. and add to the pile of paperwork!
Just as I realised this, you turned and looked straight at me, the whole room fell silent, as you called me by name and command me to speak.
And I addressed the court and said it was a fundamental human right - by the grace of God, to hear the voice of God and that every human, every single child of God, has the right to hear God speak their name in love, no matter how they are judged or thought of by their peers.
Thank you God, for helping me to know just how passionately I feel about that basic gift of grace.
Now I know that the origin of the dream lay in listening to the news on the World Service as I fell asleep and on its report of the progress of Radovan Karadzic's trial - but it was nonetheless a multi-layered dream, and it will take some time to unpack it all.
This morning I was particularly struck by the similarity between the courtroom and the Church. We don't mean to, but I suspect we drown out the possibility of all too many people hearing you speak by the 'noise' of our religious communication. Inadvertently we turn Scripture into a legalistic brief and our liturgies into petitions. We push so much 'paper' into people's hands as they enter a place of prayer... and my cheeks burn with embarrassment as I think on how many people over the years must have left an act of worship I have led, having strained to hear what YOU were saying instead of what I was saying, or the Church was doing!
So help me God to rethink how I can help to create opportunities for people to hear YOU, not hear ABOUT you.
And - meanwhile.. keep calling - I'm listening.