March 21, 2020
John 8:31-32 

 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;  32   and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Grace, peace and mercy be multiplied to you from God our Father, and the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Most Sundays, you will find me joining the bass section of the choir. I enjoy being a part of the choir, and they have to let me join in because I am the pastor! I know that this is not one of my stronger gifts. Those with whom I sing are wonderful singers. We are blessed. We are also blessed with talented singers and musicians who make up our praise band, handbells and children’s choirs.

One of the important lessons I have learned in singing in the choir is that while it is necessary to sing (duh), it is just as necessary, if not MORE necessary, to listen. Listen to the accompanist (another talented member of the music team) and listen to each other. There have been times I have been told to sing softer and listen more. You can read into that whatever you wish! 

Listen.

There is a lot we are listening to right now. As I write this devotion, I have Governor DeWine and Doctor Acton’s daily update streaming. I am sure that I am not alone. I listen to various podcasts for news and sports and entertainment. I listen to music to wake me up in the morning. I listen to music to calm me down at night. I listen to my kids and grand-kids and family members when they call. I listen when YOU call. I listen to my fellow colleagues and staff as we try to figure out what we are doing.

There is a lot to hear. Listen.

My concern is that with all of the voices and sounds to which I am listening, what I NEED to hear can be drowned out.

Jesus said, “Those who continue in my word…” It is this precious Word of God that I need to so desperately hear. It is the word we ALL need to hear.
It is this word that will set us free.

These days can feel like we are in captivity. That is what we hear.

Today, hear the word of God – You are loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s beloved.

Did you hear it? If not, I encourage you to read it out loud. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s beloved.

Listen.

An old hymn from our Methodist brothers and sisters shares that message well. I encourage you to use these words as our prayer for the day:

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life;
sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life;
all so freely given, wooing us to heaven.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life;
offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 600
Text:  Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Music:  Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Tune:  WORDS OF LIFE,  Meter:  86.86.66 with Refrain
Remember to...