By Sharon Betts
During my working hours as a nurse, I carefully listen regularly with my stethoscope to an individual’s heart rhythm. I can literally hear their life’s pulse moving through the valves and chambers. It is with this tool of my trade that I can clearly identify specific sounds that otherwise I would not hear with only my ears.
Wouldn’t it be over the top helpful, if as ministers we had a pastoral tool such as the stethoscope to help us listen when God is speaking with us! Hypothetically, I’ll bet young Samuel may have been better able to recognize God’s call if he had a spiritual stethoscope, :-) as would we all!
In actuality, the skill of listening (at least it has for me) takes time to cultivate. Over time as our Christian nature matures, like any skill, takes effort on our part. We must prepare our spiritual toolbox with healthy ideals and a grounded identity in Jesus Christ and utilizing the gifts of unending grace as our tools to work with.
Liturgical Seasons such as Advent are a time to embark on an intentional spiritual journey of hope. It is by way of making ourselves available to God's work of continued transformation that we should slow down our pace, spend quiet time with our Lord in scripture, reflection and prayer. During this deliberate on-going formation, our ears may tingle in preparation of repentance, moving us from the old to the new in the fullness of the coming of God’s Kingdom.