July 24, 2020
A Time To Listen

by Kristina Appen
“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. -  2 Corinthians 8:7 
I’ve found myself “checking the boxes” lately. You know, that feeling of having to complete every task on your to do list just so you can cross it off and feel “accomplished.” This whole notion of “excelling in everything” can get us wrapped up in ourselves and the inconsequential minutia in the quest for fulfillment. It’s funny, though, because when asked what fills our cup, most people would say something along the lines of giving to others, spending time with loved ones, caring about those in need. Now sure is a time we need more of that as so many people are struggling.
 
The racism and marginalization of people of color, people of differing sexual orientation, people of lesser socio-economic status, people of….you fill in the blank of the minority group…that pervades our communities near and far is deafening. For so many of us, we’ve never been faced with these prejudices. We’ve lived our lives generally free of ridicule, always having been given the benefit of the doubt, the second chance, frankly the first chance to live a life of opportunity and promise. That’s simply not the case for a lot of people. So how do we help? How do we start to make iterative, lasting change that we can instill in our children and our children’s children to shepherd forward when we aren’t around to see it with our own eyes? I think listening must be near the top of that list. Everyone wants to be heard and yet not everyone has a voice.
 
In 2 Corinthians 8:7, we are urged to excel in the grace of giving. Empathy, understanding, and compassion never cease to break down barriers and build bridges between people. Giving the gift of a listening ear is one of the best ways I’ve found to make those connections with others. Maya Angelou famously said “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Let us give our ears and our hearts by listening to our black neighbors and supporting one another. 
Dear God, help us to listen. Let us not jump to conclusions. Let us not make assumptions. Let us be there for each other so that we may learn and better advocate for each other for a brighter tomorrow. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com