The Oasis - January 31, 2024

Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
January 31, 2024

            I’ve noticed a lot is being said and written about our poor listening skills. Some say our attention spans are getting shorter. Instead of truly listening while others speak, we focus on formulating our responses. We “talk past one another.” Even when we hear the truth, we reject it if it doesn’t fit our worldview.
            The last Sunday before the Season of Lent begins is called Transfiguration Sunday. The gospel reading assigned to that day is the story of Jesus taking three of his disciples up a mountain. There, Jesus is transfigured before them and his clothes turn dazzling white. The disciples see Moses and the prophet Elijah with Jesus. Not knowing what to do or say, Peter suggests they build booths or tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Just then, God’s voice came from a cloud saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!” Notice the exclamation mark! It was an emphatic commend to stop and just listen. 
            The Transfiguration story is a reminder to me. Am I focusing too much on my “to do” lists? Am I pushing forward with my own agendas, without really listening to Jesus or opening myself to movement of the Holy Spirit? It also reminds me to be aware of the quality of my listening to other people. Not only can I benefit from the words of others, but to listen another person into a place of self-disclosure can be a great gift. 
            I view the First Parish Church Visioning Forum as a form of listening. We are entering another phase in which we will invite groups to gathering and reflect on the responses we received to the questions presented. It’s a way of listening to one another in order to discern God’s desires for First Parish. The next question is simple. Why do you participate at First Parish Church? I hope this will get you to think about what you receive from your involvement, what meaning does it bring, or what joy does it bring you to give of yourself on behalf of the church’s ministry. Feel free to email me or write your response on the newsprint in the church entrance or at coffee hour.


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