We Hear What We Want To Hear

Luke 4:14-21 – The 3rd Sunday after Epiphany – for Sunday, January 24, 2016

He began to explain to them, ‘Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.’” (Luke 4:21)

Female-doctor-listening-t-006Leaning forward, I listened intently.

Chatter and ringing phones from nearby sections of the busy second floor—the reception desk, waiting room, and adjoining exam areas—faded into background noise.

At a teaching hospital, my wife and I focused on the surgeon’s explanation. As still as soldiers standing at attention, several student interns and the supervising professor (a renowned medical expert) also crowded the exam room.

Only our doctor spoke. Only her words mattered.

While not an emergency, this was serious. We had time to ponder, but a decision needed to happen within a few months. That decision would trigger a cascade of activities including crucial CT scans to discern the extent of the damage. The surgeon elaborated on the key steps necessary before and after the operation. Wanting to be 100% sure about everything, I asked her to repeat several statements

So focused on her crucial information, I didn’t even hear any barking in the background.

Our doctor was a vet. Continue reading →

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The New Verse Nine

Isaiah 6:1-8 and John 3:1-17 – Trinity Sunday, the 1st Sunday of Pentecost – for Sunday, May 31, 2015

“Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, ‘Whom shall I send . . .’” (Isaiah 6:8)

Thumbnail_w_CacheI demand an additional verse to the Bible. Let Isaiah’s sixth chapter have fourteen verses rather than thirteen. This action won’t add or subtract any words, chapters, books, or testaments. It’s barely a hiccup. It won’t even register on the Biblical Richter scale of changes. I’m confident all readers can adjust to this tweak with lickety-split ease.

Here’s what Isaiah’s sixth chapter and eighth verse looks like now:

Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” I said, “I’m here; send me.”

Here’s what I want:

Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” 9 I said, “I’m here; send me.” Continue reading →

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Advent 2: Of The Roses Singing

Isaiah 40:1-11The Second Sunday of Advent – for Sunday, December 7, 2014

“A voice is crying out: Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3)

two+candlesA voice is crying out:
Clear the Lord’s way in the desert!
Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
 

Some say, fervent and sure in their beliefs, that Isaiah predicted a voice in the future: a John the baptizer that would cry aloud in the literal wilderness, a harbinger for Jesus’ ministry.

Some say, fervent and sure in their beliefs, that Isaiah was not predicting a some-day future of John and Jesus, but shouting an every-day truth in the metaphoric wilderness: a longing for God to transform a wounded world.

Either way, when modern hearts and minds read Isaiah’s ancient cries, there is a belief that from the wild, from beyond our safe homes and familiar streets, a change will come.

American poet, Mary Oliver penned,

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.

The second Sunday of Advent has arrived. Come walk with me into the woods, in the wilderness of yesterday’s Isaiah and today’s faith . . . but only if you are not one of the “smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.” Continue reading →

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