Listen to Him!
Sunday, February 27, 2022
Pastor Deb Kielsmeier
We all know that safety on airplanes is important. But you would never know it by watching passengers during the safety demonstration at the beginning of a flight. Nobody pays much attention. Well, the flight attendants found a creative solution. Often, they will inject humor into their routine safety speech: “Hey everyone, Look here! We just found a wallet in the aisle. Just kidding, but now that we have your attention, here are the safety instructions.” “If you are sitting next to a small child, or someone who is acting like a small child, please do us all a favor and put on your own mask first.” “Now, there may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways out of this airplane. And remember, the closest exit may be behind you, in which case, just slip out the back, Jack.”
We laugh, but the truth is, we often don’t listen or pay attention to even the most important people in our lives. It is especially hard in today’s culture, with messages bombarding us every waking moment and smart phones screaming for our attention. What does it take for us to stop? And truly listen?
Today is Transfiguration Sunday. Today finds us standing on a mountain top with Peter, James, and John when suddenly the heavenly curtain is lifted for just a moment, and we glimpse the splendor of Jesus. Scripture tells us that his face shone like the sun, and his clothing was like a flash of lightening.
Jesus is joined by two great heavyweights of the Old Testament, Moses (the lawgiver) and Elijah (the prophet). They also appear in glory and encourage Jesus in what he was to face in the weeks ahead.
And he would face a LOT.
This mountain top was a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus had been healing, teaching, and ministering throughout the countryside. But now, Jesus resolutely turns his face toward Jerusalem and the difficult road to the cross and his death.
This moment is also a turning point for us here at Augustana. Together, we have just traveled through the season of Epiphany, a season of increasing light and revelation as we begin to see who Jesus is.
From this vantage point we can look back to see Jesus acknowledged by the wise men, Jesus being baptized and Jesus beginning his ministry. We see him teaching and preaching and healing throughout the land. We see multitudes fed, storms stilled and water turned to wine.
And from this point we also look forward to Lent – a season of reflection and repentance as we also journey toward the cross.
This is a point of transition. And at this moment, on this mountain top.
God has something important to say. To you. And to me.
“This is my Son, the Beloved, with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Listen to Him… Listen to Him…Listen to Him.
Do you know that right now there are hundreds of radio waves running through this very room? But we are not listening to any of them. Why is that? We don’t hear them because we are not tuned in.
In the same way, God is speaking all around us. But most of the time, we completely miss what God is saying to us. Why? Because we are not tuned in. We simply are not paying attention.
It is a bit mind-blowing when you stop to think of it, that the most significant person in the history of history—God’s own Son has something to say to you and me if only we stop and listen.
The problem is that listening – really listening and paying attention can be hard. We often have a conversation going on inside our heads non-stop. Even when we are talking to someone else, that internal chatter can keep going. Right? Add to that to-do lists, the media, phones, email, texts, messaging – it can be overwhelming.
But whatever ends up capturing our attention, ends up capturing us. Your attention is a valuable commodity that is eagerly sought by the advertising world. We can steward our attention the same way we steward our time or money. Or we can waste it.
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
As we begin this journey of Lent, God invites us – commands us – to Listen. God wants our attention.
How will you respond this invitation?
Throughout the centuries, Christians have found it helpful to set aside time and space to be alone, to be open and attentive to God’s presence.
Often people sit in a favorite chair, perhaps in the morning and read scripture, asking God to speak to their hearts. To begin with they often simply sit quietly settling themselves to become attentive to the presence of the Spirit.
Or go outside. Take a prayer walk – without earbuds – Listen and notice as you soak in God’s beauty around you. I sometimes bring two or three verses to pray over and meditate on.
Your quiet time with God will be shaped by your personality, life stage and circumstances. But the key is to intentionally set aside time to give your attention to God and to listen.
When you do, God’s word will guide, challenge, comfort, and heal you. Honestly, there is no way to predict how Jesus’ words might transform your life.
And so, friends, as we make our way down the Mount of Transfiguration and begin our Lenten journey to the cross – be assured that Jesus has something to say to you. Will you listen?
For the voice from Heaven is still saying – to you, today, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”