DO WE LISTEN OR KILL OUR MESSENGER?
Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
Scriptural Readings: Acts 7:51-8:1A; Psalm 31:3CD-4, 6, 7B, 8A, 17, 21AB; John 6:30-35
My dear encountered couples:
The reading from Acts reminds me that even today we continue to kill the messenger instead of listening to the message. Stephen chastises the elders for “opposing the Holy Spirit”; in other words for not listening with their hearts instead of being stiff-necked and acting from what is in their heads.
The elders received the gift of enlightenment from the Spirit, but they failed to heed the message. Over the centuries they continued to put to death those who repeated and reinforced and made real the message from the Spirit. Stephen’s message was one of admonishment, of frustration with the blindness he saw in the church hierarchy, with their unwillingness to seek the meaning of the true message they were receiving. He paid for his honesty with his life.
What of us? Do we oppose the Holy Spirit? Do we truly listen to the Spirit when we pray, or do we shut out the message of the Spirit with our own version of the scribes’ indifference? Do we understand our unique message from the Spirit in the context of who we are, or do we close our hearts to our personal call by listening with our heads? Do we have the courage to listen to the Spirit, and then to act on what we hear, as did Stephen, or do we act like the elders, who received the message but did not observe it? Do we acknowledge the messengers of the Spirit in our own lives, both private and public, or do we spurn their witness because it doesn’t mesh neatly with our preconceptions and challenges us to think and feel in new ways? Are we listening to our messengers, or are we killing them?
My prayer today is to scrape the unhealthiness off my heart with the circumcising scalpel of the Spirit, to recognize the messengers in my own life, to listen to their witness, and to understand how the Spirit is moving through them to call me.