Tuning In | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

06.5.23 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

In a recent online forum on prayer, a woman who was raised in the Quaker tradition talked about her understanding of worship as a “listening prayer.” She described her surprise and delight when she stayed with some friends in Belarus and heard them answer the phone. Instead of “hello,” the custom there is to pick up, say, “I’m listening,” and then wait for the speaker to talk on the other end of the line.

This is certainly a very open way in which to begin any conversation, on the phone or otherwise. It assures the party making the call that the one receiving it is fully present and engaged. Answering the phone with these words is much more intentional than merely saying “hello.” “I’m listening” is focused, but agenda-free; creating space for input from the caller.

Imagine if we could generalize this way of engaging the world. Imagine if we could expand such engagement to include our contact with God! We talk often about the posture of listening, and sometimes we can get ourselves to that place. Still, we live in a world of words. Too often, listening comes after we speak (or while we are preparing what to say next!). The need to express overrides opportunities for understanding.

This weekend we arrive at Trinity Sunday. Another cycle of worshipping through Gospel revelation comes full circle. We move into the season of Pentecost—kicked off by commemorating the moment when people of many languages heard the Good News in language they could understand. The accompanying months of summer and early fall provide a wonderful opportunity to lead with listening, and to hear the Gospel in all sorts of new ways.

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

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