Editor's note: "A pandemic advent: the arrival of a Savior for all" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 14 – Do you hear what I hear?
Isaiah 30:15–26, Revelation 2:1–29
Listen! As we get older, we might find it harder to hear. Although hearing may become more of a struggle over time, listening is a challenge for us regardless of age. Little children do not always listen. Unfortunately, neither do grown adults, as reflected in today’s assigned readings as well.
Our unwillingness to listen seems especially acute when others disagree. We prefer to speak, to make our point, to be heard. Occasionally, we remain silent for a moment to catch our breath and allow our conversation partner to slip in a word or two. Our minds, however, are preoccupied with what to say next to defend our argument and reinforce our position.
Certainly it should come as no surprise that even Christians have trouble listening. In Revelation 2, Saint John begins to relay words from the Lord to seven churches that included a variety of reproofs and exhortations. These could not have been easy to hear. Nobody likes to hear harsh truths. Isaiah also notices that the call to repentance tends to fall upon deaf ears. In our reading he remarks, (Isaiah 30:15)
If you have ears, then listen to what the Spirit says to the churches, the writer of Revelation 2:7 urges. Listen!
Listen! We are not always right. In fact, at times we are just plain wrong. The Spirit humbles us to repentance if we are willing to listen to the truth. And we should continue listening because the Spirit has much more to say. In these few verses from Isaiah alone we hear, The Lord longs to be gracious to you…He will rise up to show you compassion…How gracious He will be when you cry for help…The Lord binds up the bruises of His people and heals their wounds. Listen, the prophet continues, your ears will hear a voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:18-21)
Do you hear what I hear? It is the message of that child sleeping in the night who brings us goodness and light. Listen to the Spirit, who always leads us to Jesus, the Word made flesh.
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