Week of 3 Lent, Year One[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 88 (morning) // 91, 92 (evening)
Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-20
For most of today’s first reading, it seems like the world’s most fundamental spiritual problem is that people won’t listen to God. Through his mouthpiece the prophet, God reminds us of his one request: “Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you.” Throughout their history, God repeated this command to “Obey my voice,” and yet “they did not obey or incline their ear.” We simply won’t listen.
But the last portion of this reading reminds us that listening must work in two directions. When people don’t listen to God, God doesn’t listen to them. God warns the prophet, “do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me.”
Thus, the fundamental spiritual problem here is not simply that people won’t listen to God, but also that God won’t listen to his people. This passage depicts human-divine communication as God barking commands and people only raising their voices when they’re in crisis. But both God and human beings are looking for a relationship of reciprocity, of receptivity, of real connection.
There’s so much more that we can hear from God than commands: a voice of encouragement, comfort, call, challenge. And there’s so much more that God desires to hear from us than cries of distress: a voice of authenticity, thankfulness, passion. How can God and we get through to each other better today?
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.