The art of listening

Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear! (Mat. 11:15.)

Christianity is a religion of hearing, not seeing.
Do not think that there are no visual elements in Christianity.
They are, but they do not play a primary role.

Listening is sacred. The most famous command given by God to His people is “Shema Yisrael”, “Listen, Israel, the Lord your God – the Lord is one.” (Deut. 6:4)
Abraham, Moses and the prophets differed from their contemporaries in that they heard a voice that was not heard by others.

In one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible, God instructs the prophet Elijah that He is not in a whirlwind, not in an earthquake, not in fire, but as the original speaks in “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).

In order to learn to listen – even to God, but even to your brother, another person – you need to exercise, concentrate and learn to establish silence in your inner world.

When we peer, the beauty of the created world is revealed to us, but when we listen, we join the soul of another person and sometimes the soul of the Other — the God of our salvation, when He speaks to us, calls us, calling us to fulfill His task in the world…
If I were asked how to find God, I would answer: “Learn to listen.” Listen to the song of the universe in the songs of birds, the rustle of trees and the sound of the surf.

Listen to the poetry of prayer, the music of the Psalms, messages and sacred texts.
Listen carefully to those you love and those who love you.
Listen to the words of God found in Scripture and listen to what those words say to your heart.

Listen through the centuries to the arguments of the sages, while they themselves try to hear the hints and shades of meaning in the texts.
Do not worry or have too much anxiety about how you or others look from the outside.
The world of appearances and visual impressions is a false world of masks, acting and camouflage.

It’s not easy to listen.
I have to admit, this is very difficult for me. But only the ability to listen builds bridgesmover the abyss between human souls,between “I” and  “other” between “I” and “Divine”.
The Christian spiritual life is the art of listening.

Blessings to all.

Bishop Sergei Karpenko
Bible Church of Ukraine

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