Pastors' Weekly Message: From Pastor Pat

Have you ever been part of the team building exercise about communication? You know the one, where a message begins at one end of a circle and by the time it gets back to its point of origin, it's not exactly the same message. Listening is critical to understanding. And, beloved, understanding is not synonymous with agreement.

In an environment where a well-intentioned message can be derailed by one wrong word, punctuation mark, or perceived tone, it is important that we take time to listen for understanding, not for responding, not to debate, but to hear the voice that is speaking.
In his epistle to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul reminds them of how important it is to carefully craft our messages.

15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 NRSV)

We may not always agree, but if we wrap our words in the agape love of Christ, we can all be heard. Listening allows us to hear differing perspectives, receive information, and even gain a glimpse of a person’s story. Listening costs us nothing but the time it takes to make another person’s voice more important than our own. Sometimes we may very well disagree with what we have heard. But those are moments that invite deeper conversation, so that we might understand a different voice, even if that voice speaks differently than our own. 

May we each take the time to listen to the voices shared in our presence, that we might hear their hearts and we might hear God speak.

-- Pastor Pat